In a recent forum on artificial intelligence (AI) innovations, Professor Jodi Forlizi from Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science presented four key recommendations to US senators. These recommendations aim to ensure that AI innovations are sustainable, responsible, and beneficial […]
In a recent forum on artificial intelligence (AI) innovations, Professor Jodi Forlizi from Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science presented four key recommendations to US senators. These recommendations aim to ensure that AI innovations are sustainable, responsible, and beneficial for workers.
The forum, titled “AI Insight Forum on Artificial Intelligence Innovations,” was attended by senators Michael Rands, Martin Hajnrih, and Tod Jang, and included testimonies from researchers like Forlizi, AI companies, investment funds, and union leaders.
Forlizi, the Herbert A. Simon Professor at the Human-Computer Interaction Institute within Carnegie Mellon University, and leader of the “Responsible AI” initiative through the university’s Block Center for Technology and Society, briefed the senators on her observations and conclusions gathered from years of researching the impact of AI on the workforce.
Here are her four recommendations for future development:
- Including workers in the design, development, training, and implementation of new technologies.
- Establishing processes for developing sustainable AI and determining what is generalized and what is idiosyncratic.
- Developing sustainable AI from the beginning stages of product development.
- Enabling digital literacy training programs.
“My research has shown that strategies and methodologies that improve worker engagement in developing new technologies can contribute to the US maintaining its leadership in AI innovation adoption,” stated Forlizi.
Professor Forlizi’s testimony draws from over 20 years of experience in designing, studying, and developing human-AI interactions in the product development process, as well as understanding the impact of AI on work, particularly for frontline service workers. Her recommendations aim to avoid the mistakes that have already occurred in integrating AI tools into the workforce.
Forlizi shared the results of her work with UNITE HERE, the largest hospitality union in the US and an affiliate of AFL-CIO. Through funding from the National Science Foundation, Forlizi conducted research on how AI should be designed, developed, and implemented in the hospitality industry.
The project highlighted that involving workers in the innovation process related to AI tools can address key challenges in adopting new technologies and open pathways for collaboration. Hospitality workers, many of whom are members of UNITE HERE, are increasingly encountering AI in their daily job tasks and expressing various perspectives. While algorithmic managers can help housekeepers and managers optimize operations and workflow in room cleaning, the technology can simultaneously create issues.
“Forlizi has stated that algorithmic managers increase workload, raise job demands, and reduce the autonomy of housekeepers. Instead of allowing housekeepers to clean rooms in the most efficient way for them, with minimal physical strain, algorithmic managers send them back and forth in elevators and hallways, while pushing carts weighing 200 to 300 kilograms. We have regularly heard from housekeepers that algorithmic managers have simply wasted their time.”
Professor Forlizi, the Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science and former director of the Human-Computer Interaction Institute, earned her Ph.D. in human-computer interaction in 2007 and holds a master’s degree in interaction design, both from Carnegie Mellon University. She is a member of the ACM CHI Academy and has been recognized by the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for excellence in human-robot interaction research. Forlizi has collaborated with companies like Disney and General Motors to create innovative production-service systems.