Technology and Human Rights

Artificial intelligence, automation, and the gig economy can free us from drudgery, enrich our leisure, and build societies of shared prosperity. They have equal potential to create mass unemployment, hollow-out lives, and worsen inequality.

 

Putting human rights at the core of this new wave of technology in global markets will help define which road we choose. This new portal will be a digital platform for dialogue and action on this choice.

 

Phil Bloomer, Executive Director, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Technology can be a powerful tool for human rights. Increased access to the internet and the development of social media tools have enabled activists to organise and spread their message more quickly and to broader audiences. Emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, may significantly expand the availability and quality of data upon which to make informed decisions for the benefit of society. Supporters of these technologies believe that they will unleash new opportunities, increase efficiency, and help maximise human potential.

At the same time, rapid developments in artificial intelligence, automation and robotics raise serious questions about potential impacts on human rights and the future of work, as well as who will benefit and lose from their expansion. There is a risk that the use of machines to increase productivity will result in mounting inequality through downward pressure on wages and loss of jobs. The growth of the “gig economy”, facilitated by technology, has contributed to changing the nature of work by increasing the availability of flexible positions that provide opportunities for some while negatively affecting the livelihoods of others. In addition, the mass collection of data can lead to violations of the right to privacy and make it easier for governments to monitor the activities of activists.  

Many of these impacts are yet unknown. Human rights organisations are currently exploring how to ensure that these technological advances can benefit all people and do not exacerbate inequality for those who are already among the most marginalised.

Get RSS feed of these results

Related stories and components

Article
8 April 2019

Governments and companies tackling the 4th industrial revolution at the World Economic Forum MENA

Author: Jordan Times

"WEF tackles 4th industrial revolution, need for regional education to keep pace", 8th April 2019...

Read more

Story
5 April 2019

Australia passes law penalising social media platforms for violent content; civil society raises concerns re human rights impacts

See full story

Story
5 April 2019

Google cancels AI ethics board in response to employee criticism

Google announced it would be forming the Advanced Technology External Advisory Council to help the company manage the ethical challenges of A.I. The council consisted of eight members, one of which was Kay Coles James, president of the Heritage...

See full story

Article
5 April 2019

USA: Study explores impacts of automation & technological change on the future of work for women

Author: Ariane Hegewisch, Chandra Childers & Heidi Hartmann, Institute for Women's Policy Research

"Women, automation, and the future of work," 13 March, 2019 ...

Read more

Article
4 April 2019
+ Français - Hide

Author: Reuters

« La nouvelle loi australienne menace les entreprises de médias sociaux d'amende, de prison pour contenu violent », 4 avril 2019...

Read more

Article
2 April 2019

USA: Govt. files lawsuit against Facebook for alleged discrimination by preventing people from seeing certain adverts based on race, religion & nationality

Author: Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune (USA)

"Facebook Faces Federal Lawsuit", 28 Mar 2019...

Read more

Article
29 March 2019
+ Français - Hide

Author: Léa Faure, IT Social (France)

« Google crée un comité consultatif externe pour surveiller l’usage de l’intelligence artificielle », 27 mars 2019...

Read more

Story
28 March 2019

Facebook bans content related to white nationalism & separatism after pressure from civil rights groups

Facebook has announced that it will ban praise, support, and representation of white nationalism and separatism on Facebook and Instagram. In a blog post announcing the ban, Facebook said that conversations with academics and civil rights groups...

See full story

Story
26 March 2019

Avaaz alleges Facebook’s response to disinformation in Europe poses a serious threat to democratic stability; includes co. response

See full story

Item
25 March 2019
+ Español - Hide

Author: El Economista (México)

“Empresas tecnológicas de vigilancia negocian sin control en México y América Latina: informe”, 24 de marzo de 2019...

Read more