Human resources

FTC announces new executive appointments

Written by Thomas Ahearn, editor-in-chief of the ESR News blog

In November 2021, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – a US government agency that protects and educates consumers – announced the appointments of Olivier Sylvain, John Kwoka, Meredith Whittaker, Amba Kak and Sarah Myers West to the office of political planning. of the FTC. , according to an FTC press release.

“Tackling illegal behavior requires that we make sure that our law enforcement and policy work keeps pace with new market realities. These technology and economic policy leaders will work alongside experts within the FTC and my office to help us achieve this goal, ”said FTC President Lina M. Khan in the statement. hurry.

Sylvain, Whittaker, Kak and Myers West will work with the FTC CTO and technologists in an informal artificial intelligence (AI) strategy group to provide insight and advice on emerging technology issues . Kwoka will work with competition economists and lawyers on an updated approach to merger review policies.

  • Olivier Sylvain will hold the position of senior technology advisor to the chair. Sylvain joined the FTC from Fordham University where he was a professor of law. An expert on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, his research areas include administrative law, information law, US data protection and privacy law, and other economic issues. some information.
  • John Kwoka will be the President’s Chief Economist. Kwoka joins the FTC from Northeastern University where he is the Neal F. Finnegan Distinguished Professor of Economics. He has published extensively, with his recent scholarship focusing on ways to update and strengthen merger policy and other aspects of antitrust.
  • Meredith Whittaker will serve as the Chair’s Senior Artificial Intelligence Advisor. Whittaker joined the FTC from the Tandon School of Engineering at New York University (NYU), where she was faculty director at the AI ​​Now Institute and a research professor at Minderoo. His work has focused on critically examining the intersection of technology and politics.
  • Amba Kak will act as Senior AI Advisor. Kak joined the FTC from NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering, where she was director of global policy at the AI ​​Now Institute. Having worked in multiple jurisdictions, she brings comparative global expertise to policy issues. His recent research has focused on algorithmic liability and biometric regulation.
  • Sarah Myers West will be an artificial intelligence advisor. Myers West joined the FTC from NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering, where she was a scholar at the AI ​​Now Institute. His research examines the intersection of technology, platform labor, and responsibility, as well as the history and political economy of the tech industry.

In April 2021, the FTC – which is also the country’s chief privacy and data security official – published a corporate blog on “Striving for Truth, Fairness and Fairness in Your Business’s Use of AI ”to help businesses discover how to harness the benefits of AI without inadvertently introducing bias or other unfair outcomes.

The FTC has decades of experience in enforcing three important laws for developers and users of AI, one of which is the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which comes into play in certain circumstances where an algorithm is used to deny people a job, housing, credit, insurance or other benefits.

The FTC used its expertise to report on big data analytics and machine learning, conduct a hearing on algorithms, AI and predictive analytics, and publish business advice on AI and algorithms. This work, coupled with the FTC’s enforcement actions, offers important lessons about using AI in a truthful, fair and equitable manner.

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