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
6 August 2019

OHCHR launches call for input on Business & Human Rights in Technology Project (B-Tech) draft scoping paper (deadline 2 Sept 2019)

Author: UN Human Rights

UN Human Rights is launching the B-Tech Project which will seek to provide authoritative guidance and resources to enhance the quality of implementation of the United National Guiding Principles on Business and Human rights with respect to a selected...

Read more

Article
5 August 2019

German data protection authority orders Google to halt human review of voice AI recordings over privacy concerns

Author: Natasha Lomas, Techcrunch

"Google ordered to halt human review of voice AI recordings over privacy risks", 2 August 2019...

Read more

Article
5 August 2019
+ Français - Hide

Author: Laurent Cervoni, Talan, dans L'Usine Nouvelle (France)

« Responsabilité sociétale des entreprises : l'intelligence artificielle et le numérique pour agir », 3 août 2019...

Read more

Article
2 August 2019

Google ordered to halt human review of voice AI recordings over privacy risks

Author: Natasha Lomas, TechCrunch

A German privacy watchdog has ordered Google to cease manual reviews of audio snippets generated by its voice AI. This follows a leak last month of scores of audio snippets... to the Belgian news site VRT... The Hamburg data protection authority told...

Read more

Article
25 July 2019

USA: Govt. issues $5 billion fine against Facebook for repeated privacy violations

Author: Tony Romm, The Washington Post

"U.S. government issues stunning rebuke, historic $5 billion fine against Facebook for repeated privacy violations"...

Read more

Article
1 July 2019

Kenya: Digital Lenders Association sign code of conduct; commit to responsible lending practices

Author: Steve Mbego, Standard Digital (Kenya)

“App lenders sign code of conduct, commit to responsible lending practices”...

Read more

Article
28 June 2019

WITNESS Media Lab report highlights challenges of AI-manipulated media & argues for better data sharing

Author: Sam Gregory & Eric French, WITNESS Media Lab

"How do we work together to detect AI-manipulated media?", 01 Jun 2019...

Read more

Article
27 June 2019

Twitter to add warnings to tweets by public officials that violate the service's rules by sharing hateful messages

Author: Barbara Ortutay, ABC News

"Politicians' tweets could get slapped with warning labels," 27 Jun 2019...

Read more

Company non-response
25 June 2019

Facebook did not respond

Read more

Story
25 June 2019

Jordan: Facebook provides platform for domestic workers recruitment agencies allegedly linked to modern slavery

Every week, ads aired on the radio in Jordan offer “one-month trial” periods and “cash on delivery” options for employers who want to hire migrant domestic workers. Online ads via social media such as Facebook also boast offers like "Delivery in 30...

See full story