Artificial intelligence isn’t just a niche tool for cheating on homework or generating bizarre and deceptive images. It’s already humming along in unseen and unregulated ways that are touching millions of Americans who may never have heard of ChatGPT, Bard or other buzzwords.
A growing share of businesses, schools, and medical professionals have quietly embraced generative AI, and there’s really no going back. It is being used to screen job candidates, tutor kids, buy a home and dole out medical advice.
But algorithms are not impartial, civil rights groups warn: They’ve been fed data from a society where the legacy of redlining — the racist practice of using government-issued maps to discourage banks from lending in Black neighborhoods — is reflected in information about school, home and grocery store locations decades after the practice was officially outlawed.
Rice, of the National Fair Housing Alliance, said she is concerned that tenant screening selection models incorporating AI make it harder for consumers to probe a decision that might deny them housing.
“There’s very little transparency behind these systems, and so people are being shut out of housing opportunities and they don’t know why,” Rice said.
… as new tools draw scrutiny from the feds.
Algorithms have already run afoul of federal fair housing law, according to a Department of Housing and Urban Development investigation.
Meta in 2022 settled with the Justice Department after HUD alleged that Facebook algorithms violated the law by allowing advertisers to steer housing ads to users based on race, gender and other factors. The company, which did not admit to any wrongdoing as part of the settlement, agreed to discontinue the advertising tool and overhaul its housing ad delivery methods as part of the settlement.