With the growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI) across industries, the need for workers to protect their rights in the ‘smart workplace’ is becoming ever more pressing.
In 2019, the workers’ rights movement coalesced around the concept of a ‘workers’ seat at the table’ when it came to AI, hoping to secure a voice in the decision-making surrounding AI regulations and policies.
As AI systems become more powerful and intrusive, workers are increasingly concerned about their rights in the face of such smart technology. Workers have been calling for legal standards that guarantee the proper functioning of AI, and for the recognition of their contributions to the development of AI.
The focus of this ‘workers’ seat at the table’ is essentially to ensure that workers are not left out and that their rights are respected in the development of AI. Workers have a right to be consulted and to be involved at the decision-making level. They are to be given a voice in any decisions that affect their rights.
In 2019, the concept of a ‘workers’ seat at the table’ resonated with many. It has been seen not only as a way to ensure that workers’ interests are protected, but also as an opportunity to set the ethical standards for AI development. Workers have started pushing for an active role in the development of business models for AI, to ensure that ethical and social considerations can be taken into account when setting the rules.
This year, the workers’ movement will look to build on the momentum from 2019, and continue to press the case for a greater role in the decision-making process when it comes to AI. While it is still early days, this could go some way to protecting workers’ rights and ensuring that ethical considerations are built into the AI industry.
The future of AI is still uncertain, and the relationship between humans and machines will have to keep evolving. It is vital that workers are given a seat at the table to ensure that their rights are adequately taken into consideration when decisions are made on AI, and that their frequently unique insights and perspectives are heard.
Only through a greater involvement of workers in the development of AI, and safeguarding the rights of those working with AI, can serious progress be made in this field.