Entertainment and Media Guide to AI

Legal issues in AI part 2 - Judicial scales icon

Read time: 5 minutes

AI technology has officially “arrived” in the workplace.

Those in the entertainment and media industry, and U.S. employers generally, will not only want, but need to stay abreast of the latest developments in this vibrant, evolving space. Below, we outline a few key areas where AI is already having major workplace-related impacts and some thoughts on how best to navigate these developments.

AI policies, practices and procedures

AI in the workplace will likely require most, if not all, U.S. employers, regardless of industry, to create and adapt new policies, practices and procedures. Employers should start with broad language and training that informs employees, as threshold matters, what precisely AI is and how it might be introduced and used in the workplace. For example, some employers might allow Human Resources professionals to use AI for decisions related to hiring, reducing costs, eliminating bias and enhancing productivity. However, the use of AI by employees whose work product depends on independent thinking and analysis might be discouraged.

It is imperative, therefore, that employers clearly define acceptable use parameters of AI within the workplace and adopt written measures that reflect this. Equally important will be employers’ ability to pivot and amend policies as AI develops and changes over the coming months and years. Flexibility by employers on this front will be paramount.

State and local regulations

Recently, there has been a substantial groundswell of legislation concerning the use of AI in the workplace. As with most employment legislation, one can look to a small group of jurisdictions that typically lead the way, which includes California, New York City and State, Massachusetts, Illinois and a few others. As to the specific issue of rules around limiting the use of AI in hiring, New York City has, to date, led the charge.

Indeed, in late 2021, Big Apple lawmakers passed a bill that will require employers to provide prior notice to job applicants regarding the use of AI during the hiring process. The law will also require businesses to perform annual third-party audits of their AI tools to ensure that their use is not resulting in biases. Employers who fail to conduct such audits will be barred from using AI to screen job candidates. The law is scheduled to take effect on July 5, 2023.

California lawmakers recently introduced Bill 331, a bill that would require AI tool developers and users to submit annual impact assessments to the California Civil Rights Department by 2025. The assessments would outline the types of AI being used, how it is used, data collection, safeguards against illegal discrimination (which would need to be put into place if not already present), potential adverse impacts and how the tool was assessed. Individuals affected by decisions made solely based on AI would have the right to opt out if technically feasible.

Undoubtedly, this is just the start of the legislative trend toward regulating the use of AI in the workplace. Employers should expect other states and cities to follow suit.

Key takeaways
  • Employers must clearly define acceptable use parameters of AI within the workplace and adopt written measures that reflect this, but also be flexible where appropriate
  • U.S. businesses need to monitor legislative and regulatory developments on this front, as lawmakers and government officials are increasingly scrutinizing workplace-related uses of AI
  • Employers should take a holistic approach to using AI, weighing the benefits and advantages of it along with potential risks