Blog and news
April 3, 2023

IFOW Newsletter April 2023 | The view from IFOW

Last week, both the UK’s AI White Paper on a ‘pro-innovation approach’ to AI regulation and the IFOW Lab, were launched. Meanwhile, AI hit the world stage as technologists urged a temporary moratorium on ‘giant AI experiments’ and, after a security breach, the Italian data protection authority restricted access to ChatGPT.

How do these things sit together? The White Paper affirmed the UK’s emphasis on 'turbo-charging' growth, earning public trust and leveraging the expertise of the UK’s regulators. Five cross-cutting principles - including fairness, transparency and accountability - will be implemented by the regulators in context-sensitive ways, but a new statutory duty is also anticipated. In parallel, a toolbox of assurance frameworks, methods and pilots will be developed to aid responsible innovation and governance, informing development of regulation in the longer term.

As we have argued since 2020, to succeed, the government must build the capacity, resources and powers of the regulators and Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum. Impacts on ‘good work’ must also be forefronted rather than ignored. Additionally, the pilots rolled out in the next phase of the AI Strategy will need to cover in-depth impact assessments and co-governance at work.

To help us do just that, we are proud to present the ‘Good Work Algorithmic Impact Assessment,’ supported by the Information Commissioner’s Office, and The Lab, which includes the Good Work Charter and an ‘Understanding AI at work’ toolkit. We are hoping that these will be picked up by our regulators and government, as well as industry leaders in responsible technology. Please explore them and get in touch if you’d like further help on how to use them in practice.

Anna and the IFOW team

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Deep Dive: Unpacking the Good Work Algorithmic Impact Assessment

GWAIA Front Cover

Artificial Intelligence and algorithmic systems are increasingly being used in the workplace, and the ways in which they are designed, developed and deployed can transform access to work and the conditions and quality of work. When designed well, these technologies offer new opportunities for efficiency and growth, but they can also drive a wide range of social, psychological and material impacts.

We have created the Good Work Algorithmic Impact Assessment to help guide human-centred and responsible AI. Aligning with existing regulations, it uses our Good Work Charter as a framework to combine the technical, legal, social and ethical dimensions of evaluation, while recognising that worker involvement is vital to understanding social and ethical impacts.

This process begins with a Context Based Risk Assessment that convenes the relevant agents within an organisation, documents the key design and development choices, and proposes an approach to deployment.

Then a Stakeholder Engagement Report is created that sets out the population of those who may be impacted, and the sampling approach that will be used to engage them.

This leads to a preemptive risk and impact analysis that involves value mapping, a review of key design choices, documents key risks and develops user journey stories. All of this will feed into a Risk Assessment Report, which informs an Impact Mitigation Plan to identify design changes, entitlements and rewards. A process of continuous evaluation and action then begins.

Interesting reads

Inflation, wages and equality: cross-disciplinary conversations
IFOW co-founder Professor Sir Christopher Pissarides has contributed to an article in the journal of the British Academy, arguing that public sector wage increases would not be inflationary.

Work in the emerging 'quick commerce' sector
Researchers from Digit have produced two new policy studies focused on the disruption caused to the retail sector by 'q-commerce' startups, their financial precarity and the impacts on the workers involved.

An Early Look at the Labor Market Impact Potential of Large Language Models.
A paper published by OpenAI researchers presents significant findings about the impacts of LLMs on work and workers. "Our findings indicate that approximately 80% of the U.S. workforce could have at least 10% of their work tasks affected  [...] while around 19% of workers may see at least 50% of their tasks impacted."

The Stanford AI Report - 2023 release
The latest release from Stanford’s Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI) has just been released. Among the chief concerns reported are that industry is racing ahead of academia, and that the number of incidents concerning the misuse of AI is "rapidly rising".

AI needs guardrails… if human flourishing is to be protected.
The Justice, Health and Democracy Impact Initiation have a new paper on AI regulation co-authored by academics at Harvard and researchers at Microsoft that “seeks to develop a framework for making ethical choices in this space that help to both grasp positive opportunities for transformation and avoid the potentially problematic consequences.”

Findings from four-day work week trial – should we be sceptical?
Comprehensive, non-technical write-up of the conclusions from the recent trial, and why it’s a little too early to draw too many conclusions.

Events / Consultations

‘People and Place’ - APPG on the Future of Work (19th April, Westminster)

Matt Warman MP, new co-chair of the APPG into the Future of Work, and former lead for the Government’s Future of Work Review, will be completing a review with his co-chair Lord Jim Knight and with support from IFOW as strategic research partner.

This event will be focused on people and place and explore access to good work across the country in this context. In doing so, we will benefit from IFOW's Good Work Monitor and the forthcoming Pissarides Review.

Headline speakers include Guy Opperman MP, Minister of State for Employment, Angela Raynor MP, Shadow Secretary of State for the Future of Work (tbc), Professor Philip McCann, Chair of Urban and Regional Economics at Alliance Manchester Business School, and Professor Sir Christopher Pissarides, Regius Professor of Economics at LSE.

Government consultation on the AI White Paper

This is now open now and runs until 21st June.

British Academy of Management (BAM) 2023 Doctoral Symposium (Monday 4th September - submission deadline 9th May)

The BAM 2023 Doctoral Symposium (running as part of the wider BAM 2023 Conference on ‘Disruptive Sustainability’) will welcome all business and management doctoral researchers to attend in-person workshops, plenaries, paper presentations and 1-on-1 research conversations – and will offer researchers the opportunity to receive impartial expert advice in sessions led by senior academics from within the BAM community.

London Tech Week (12th - 16th June, in person at Queen Elizabeth II Centre, Westminster)

Showcasing how tech is transforming business and society, London Tech Week drives thought-provoking conversations around innovation, diversity and transformation, providing a platform for the tech ecosystem to come together to drive change.

CIPD Festival of Work (6-8th June, London Olympia, Free)

CIPD Festival of Work has evolved to help you build better working lives. With more carefully curated content than ever before, and over 5,000 senior professionals from the working landscape, the CIPD Festival of Work will be bigger and better than ever, all of this available free of charge! This experience is exclusively in-person only, join us at Olympia London.

Thank you for your time and interest. If you enjoyed this newsletter and know someone else who would benefit from it, please do share it with them. If someone has forwarded this page to you and you would like to receive future newsletters yourself via a monthly email, please subscribe here.


Anna Thomas


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