John O'Connor illustration
McKnight’s Editorial Director John O’Connor

Several senior living operators touted the new ways artificial intelligence is helping the field during a Tuesday session at Argentum’s Senior Living Executive Conference in Phoenix.

Early payoffs include better job candidate screening, operational efficiencies, improved resident services and healthier bottom lines, they noted. The prevalent vibe seemed to be that when it comes to the benefits of AI, we’ve only just begun.

And that is true, for reasons both good and bad. For while AI certainly offers the promise of help in virtually every aspect of senior living, its rapid — and in many ways, unregulated — growth is starting to raise concerns about ways fundamental human rights and freedoms could be sacrificed at the altar of AI progress.

To be sure, intelligent regulation will require a careful and nuanced approach from lawmakers. Which means, of course, that action from the US Congress is out of the question. These days, our federal lawmakers can barely agree on what day of the week it is, much less take action that requires more than slinging mud at the other side.

Such intransigence has meant that the ball is in the states’ court. And the efforting at this level has been patchy, to say the least.

For instance, in Illinois, senior living operators are prohibited from using AI in video assessments for job candidates. 

In all, 30 states have either proposed or implemented restrictions on the development and deployment of AI systems, addressing issues ranging from healthcare decisions to consumer protection. 

The challenge of AI oversight extends beyond national borders, however. Earlier this year, the European Union passed comprehensive legislation aimed at ensuring the safety and ethical use of AI systems while upholding fundamental rights and values. Similarly, China has introduced laws targeting the dissemination of false information through AI-generated content, including news distribution and chatbots.

The future of AI regulation remains uncertain, with ongoing debates over the necessity and timing of additional rules. Nonetheless, it’s evident that the scrutiny of all things AI will persist. Especially as this new technology takes us to new places –—both good and bad — that few expected to see.

John O’Connor is editorial director for McKnight’s Senior Living and its sister media brands, McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, which focuses on skilled nursing, and McKnight’s Home Care. Read more of his columns here.