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22 November 2021

A group of MPs have published a report, 'The New Frontier: Artificial Intelligence at Work', on the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and algorithms in the workplace, as part of the group's inquiry into AI and surveillance at work. Algorithms are used by employers, for example, to set productivity targets such as how long warehouse workers have to pick items or how many deliveries drivers are required to make per hour.

The chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the Future of Work, the MP David Davis, said “our inquiry reveals how AI technologies have spread beyond the gig economy to control what, who and how work is done. It is clear that, if not properly regulated, algorithmic systems can have harmful effects on health and prosperity.”

Dr David Leslie from the Alan Turing Institute said “the dignity of workers is under assault in our emerging algorithmically driven environment”.

The inquiry found that "AI is transforming work and working lives across the country in ways that have plainly outpaced, or avoid, the existing regimes for regulation."

The group are calling for a new Accountability of Algorithms Act that would create a new corporate and public sector duty to carry out, disclose and act on Algorithmic Impact Assessments (AIA).

The report recommends that the new Accountability of Algorithms Act should include a right to flexible working unless there is a strong business case not to do so, the ability to disconnect outside agreed working hours and ensure a right to reasonable notice for shift work so that flexible working is not used as a cover for exploitative employment practices.

The APPG reports that in early 2022 there will be a white paper outlining the Government’s position on regulation.