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SPRINGFIELD – Legislation sponsored by State Senator John Connor (D-Lockport) was signed into law Friday that would require stricter monitoring of possible racial bias by businesses that use artificial intelligence in their hiring processes.

“It is our responsibility to eliminate racial bias in all aspects of our society, and this is an important step in that direction,” Connor said. “No one should lose an opportunity because of the color of their skin.”

Artificial Intelligence is used in the hiring processes of many large companies. Prospective employees record a video of themselves answering a series of designated questions, and the company’s AI software then analyzes the video to assign scores to facial expressions, word choice, body language and vocal tone. Applicants are chosen for advancement based on their assigned score.

House Bill 53 requires companies that rely solely on such screenings to advance applicants to record and report the race and ethnicity of all those screened, both those hired and those rejected. The reports would then be sent to the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, where the data would be analyzed and shared with the Governor and General Assembly.

"Algorithms for hiring tests measure multiple factors from word choice to body language, and we need to ensure that we have a fair and equitable process free from discrimination when AI technology is used to hire individuals," House sponsor State Representative Jaime Andrade, Jr. (D-Chicago) said.

The legislation will go into effect Jan. 1, 2022.