Department of Homeland Security officials Thursday unveiled two new artificial intelligence policies it claims will lead to eliminating bias. Additionally, the department introduced its inaugural chief AI officer, Eric Hysen.
Hysen currently the DHS chief information officer and co-chair of the DHS Artificial Intelligence Task Force got a third job as the agency’s first chief AI officer.
He emphasized the importance of ensuring AI applications remain unbiased and lawful.
“The policies we are announcing today will ensure that the Department’s use of AI is free from discrimination and in full compliance with the law, ensuring that we retain the public’s trust,” Hysen remarked.
The two newly introduced policies are titled “Acquisition and Use of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning by DHS Components” and “Use of Face Recognition and Face Capture Technologies.”
Both policies stress the importance of avoiding AI decisions based on “inappropriate consideration of race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, nationality, medical condition, or disability” and eliminating any “unintended bias or disparate impact.”
The DHS announcement did not clarify what constitutes “appropriate” consideration of race.
The first policy broadly addresses AI and its counterpart, Machine Learning. DHS claims it is committed to minimizing bias and discriminatory outcomes in AI applications.
The commitment includes using civil rights evaluation methods like disparate impact analysis. The DHS also affirmed that it would not employ AI technology for “improper” large-scale monitoring or surveillance systems.
DHS did not clarify what would consitute “proper” monitoring or surveillance systems.
The Department of Justice defines disparate impact as avoiding outcomes that “perpetuate the repercussions of past discrimination,” according to a report from The Daily Wire.
“In a disparate impact case, the investigation focuses on the consequences of the recipient’s practices, rather than the recipient’s intent,” according to the DOJ.
To further these goals, DHS representatives announced the formation of an AI Policy Working Group that will collaborate with the AITF to refine AI policies and implementation.
The second policy zeroes in on facial recognition and face capture technologies.
Agency officials claim data collected from these technologies will not be based on race, ethnicity, gender, etc., to ensure fairness and reduce bias, adding face analysis technology will only be used when needed to estimate age.
The AITF, which was instrumental in developing these policies, was established by DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in April.
The task force’s primary stated objectives include enhancing supply chain and trade integrity, countering the influx of fentanyl in the U.S., aiding in the detection and apprehension of online child exploitation perpetrators and generally securing critical infrastructure.
Before his current role and co-chairing the AITF, Hysen had an extensive career under former President Barack Obama and worked with two major tech companies, the Daily Wire report noted.