BSR launches human rights-based blueprint for responsible business practice with regard to artificial intelligence

BSR has published three papers  describing a human rights-based blueprint for responsible business practice with regard to AI within and beyond the technology sector. These papers explore the importance of a rights-based approach for governing and guiding use of AI; the importance of paying attention to the AI value chain; and the tools, methodologies, and guidance needed to operationalize business respect for human rights in the context of AI development and use. [refers to Alibaba, Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, and Tencent]

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Article
14 December 2018

Commentary: It is high time to bind new technology to basic constitutional principles in order to protect human rights, democracy and rule of law

Author: Paul Nemitz, The Royal Society Publishing

"...The principle of rule of law, democracy and human rights by design in AI is necessary because on the one hand the capabilities of AI, based on big data and combined with the pervasiveness of devices and sensors of the Internet of things, will eventually govern core functions of society, reaching from education via health, science and business right into the sphere of law, security and defence, political discourse and democratic decision making. On the other hand, it is also high time to bind new technology to the basic constitutional principles, as the absence of such framing for the Internet economy has already led to a widespread culture of disregard of the law and put democracy in danger, the Facebook Cambridge Analytics scandal being only the latest wake-up call in that respect.

The need for framing the future relationship between technology and democracy cannot be understood without an understanding of the extraordinary power concentration in the hands of few Internet giants..."

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Report
7 September 2018

Paper 1: Why a rights-based approach?

Author: Dunstan Allison-Hope & Mark Hodge, BSR

AI is advancing rapidly... these advances bring enormous opportunities to address big social challenges... AI also brings social risks, including new forms of discrimination arising from algorithmic bias, labor impacts arising from the displacement of workers by machines, increased potential of surveillance by employers and the State using tracking devices and facial recognition tools, and new risks to child rights as the volume of data collected about children increases substantially... We believe that rights-based approaches offer a robust framework for the responsible development and use of AI and should form an essential part of business policy and practice... [W]e use this paper to describe why the principles and core concepts within the business and human rights field offer a compelling baseline from which to define and implement responsible business practice. We do this through the articulation of 10 beliefs that are grounded in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights,... [including that] [a]ll actors in all industries across the AI value chain have responsibilities—including those buying and using AI solutions outside of the technology sector;... responsible business conduct is about the business models and strategies used by companies to take AI to market, not just... specific AI technologies;... [and] [t]hose whose human rights have been violated... by the deployment of AI solutions should have access to remedy.

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Report
7 September 2018

Paper 2: Beyond the technology industry

Author: Dunstan Allison-Hope & Mark Hodge, BSR

This is the second of three working papers intended to develop and test new business policies and practices aimed at establishing a sustainable social license to operate for new AI technologies that are capable of creating long-term sustainable value for all stakeholders... [It] argues for attention to be paid to the AI value chain and demonstrates that the positive and negative human rights impacts associated with AI are directly relevant for companies beyond the technology sector... [E]very industry will in some way be involved—and implicated—in any societal harms that come with the use of AI... The use of AI by the financial services industry will bring human rights implications in areas like nondiscrimination, responsible investment, and privacy... [T]he use of AI in treatment plans, connected health, and patient monitoring will positively influence the right of every human being to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health... [yet] risks will [also] exist in the areas of privacy, informed consent, and ensuring that patients provide proper permission for data use in trials and research.

... We believe that businesses should... [b]uild a human rights risk map for AI integration;...[u]ndertake industrywide human rights impact assessments of AI;...[e]ngage with multistakeholder efforts focused on the responsible use of AI... [b]ecome a responsible procurer of AI solutions... [and] [e]ngage relevant engineering, R&D, technology, CTO, or data science functions in responsible business strategies and governance mechanisms.

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Report
7 September 2018

Paper 3: Implementing human rights due diligence

Author: Dunstan Allison-Hope & Mark Hodge, BSR

This is the third of three working papers intended to develop and test new business policies and practices aimed at establishing a sustainable social license to operate for new AI technologies that are capable of creating long-term sustainable value for all stakeholders... We propose five elements of human rights due diligence implementation... in the context of AI.

  • Future testing human rights due diligence:... [W]e propose new human rights due diligence methodologies that can much more effectively address the uncertain impacts of the future, as well as the known impacts of today.
  • Addressing impacts across the product and service value chain:... [T]he UNGPs offer a clear approach for differentiating the roles and responsibilities of diverse actors along the AI value chain, and emphasize the importance of “know your customer” approaches
  • Rights-based approaches to opportunities:... [W]e propose the deployment of rights-based approaches to AI opportunities, alongside the more conventional identification of risks and adverse impacts.
  • Human rights by design:... We believe there are opportunities to integrate a broader range of human rights considerations—such as nondiscrimination, freedom of expression, and labor rights—into existing [privacy by design] processes.
  • Business leadership in collective action and public policy:... We propose that proactive private sector engagement in collective action and public policy development, including regulatory efforts, is a central part of companies operating responsibly

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