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Lawsuits Coming to Firms Touting AI for Background Cjecks

April 22, 2019 posted by Steve Brownstein

Background checks are becoming big business, and two relatively new innovations are changing the employment landscape for anyone with a history of…well, just about anything. The use of artificial intelligence and the growth of companies that perform constant background checks on already-hired employees are raising some thorny ethical issues about just how much of your private life matters in the workplace.

Predictive technology goes to work

Artificial intelligence will allow for a deeper dive into people’s pasts. While companies like Checkr insist that the application of AI algorithms will actually help reduce employment bias by better classifying information deemed relevant, it’s hard to imagine the influx of new data not being used to discriminate against people.

Take, for example, the Predictim tool that made headlines last month. It’s not for corporate use, but marketed to families who want to find a reliable babysitter. It claims that by processing data from potential hires’ social media files and criminal records, they can identify people with bad attitudes, abusive behaviors, drug use, and those at risk for things like “disrespectfulness.”

Predictim’s CEO Sal Parsa has done backflips to insist that the company does everything it can to reduce bias.

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