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18 Sep 2023


B-Tech calls for rights-respecting governance and responsible business conduct surrounding artificial intelligence

"The development, deployment, and regulation of Generative AI must be anchored in Human Rights – the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights provide a framework for guiding responsible business conduct", September 2023

...The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) clarify that States have a duty to foster responsible business conduct, which they should do through a variety of mandatory and voluntary measures, including regulation and incentive-based requirements. Grounding regulatory approaches to AI, including generative AI, in the international human rights framework will help to ensure that the human rights of individuals are protected and to build policy coherence at the global level. In practice, regulatory approaches (including laws, policies, and standards) that reinforce business responsibility to respect human rights would include:

  • Consideration of the full range of human rights when assessing human rights risk and conducting human rights due diligence, due to the wide range of applications of generative AI;
  • Consistent application of due diligence practices to assess and mitigate the most severe risks to people’s human rights;
  • Focus across the full value chain of AI technologies (i.e., both upstream supply chains and downstream end-uses);
  • A comprehensive suite of incentive-based policy instruments and enforcement provisions to accompany the implementation of regulation;
  • Transparency and process-oriented legislation clarifying the expectations that businesses should meet (legislation should ensure appropriate notice, due process, and
  • non-discrimination in relevant corporate systems and processes);
  • Meaningful stakeholder engagement, both by government and business actors;
  • Measures enabling easy and direct access to effective remedy and redress...

...The UNGPs have informed technological development in many ways. Importantly, it has driven the practice of companies carrying out rights-respecting risk assessment anchored in the UNGPs’ concept of human rights due diligence. Human rights due diligence is an ongoing process that companies in the tech sector have applied to the design, development, deployment and end-use of their digital products and services. Tech companies increasingly use the UNGPs to identify, assess, and mitigate human rights impacts of digital technologies across different levels of technological sophistication, including AI. Examples include the Google Celebrity Recognition API Human Rights Assessment embedded in Google’s broaderhuman rights policy anchored in the UNGPs. Microsoft recently commissioned a UNGPs-framed assessment of its Enterprise Cloud and AI Technologies, grounded in its UNGPs-based approach. The fact that some companies at the forefront of AI development are endorsing and implementing a rights-based approach to risk management points to human rights as a promising foundation for rights-respecting generative AI practices...