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Technology and Human Rights: Artificial Intelligence

There is a possible future in which artificial intelligence drives inequality, inadvertently divides communities, and is even actively used to deny human rights. But there is an alternative future in which the ability of AI to propose solutions to increasingly complex problems is the source of great economic growth, shared prosperity, and the fulfilment of all human rights. This is not a spectator sport. Ultimately it will be the choices of businesses, governments, and individiauls which determines which path humanity takes.

 

Olly Buston, CEO, Future Advocacy

The field of artificial intelligence (AI), which refers to work processes of machines that would require intelligence if performed by humans, is evolving rapidly and is poised to grow significantly over the coming decade. Proponents believe that the further development of AI creates new opportunities in health, education, and transportation, will generate wealth and strengthen economies, and can be used to solve pressing social issues. Ongoing initiatives are exploring the use of machine learning in human rights investigations, to increase energy efficiency and reduce pollution, and address food insecurity, as a few examples.

On the other hand, replacing human intelligence with machines could fundamentally change the nature of work, resulting in mass job losses and increasing income inequality. Algorithm-based decision-making by companies could also perpetuate human bias and result in discriminatory outcomes, as they already have in some cases. The significant expansion of data collected and analysed may also result in increasing the power of companies with ownership over this data and threaten our right to privacy. 

The rapid growth of AI also raises important questions about whether our current policies, legal systems, business due diligence practices, and methods to protect rights are fit for purpose. This section will feature the latest research and various perspectives about the implications of AI for human rights as this field continues to evolve.

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