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Human rights and artificial intelligence: The present and future question

Jun 08,2023 - Last updated at Jun 08,2023

When discussing the topic of artificial intelligence (AI) and its impact on the human rights system, we must acknowledge the effects and challenges posed by the rapid growth of technology in this context. It is important to emphasise that AI has numerous positive effects on human life and facilitates daily life in technological and medical fields. However, the uses of AI raise new challenges related to human rights, values and principles upon which the philosophy of human rights is based, such as education, healthcare, the justice sector, freedom of opinion and expression, and more. Furthermore, human rights reports that document violations and abuses, and the extent to which these reports are influenced and affected, also come into consideration. Will we witness future investigations and data analysis of human rights reports based on AI techniques? And the more important question: How accurate, reliable and trustworthy are these reports, data, or violations, and to what extent do individuals trust their content?

One of the prominent challenges lies in the issues of privacy rights and personal data protection. The use of AI often requires extensive collection of sensitive personal data. Are these data collected and reviewed according to patterns that protect individuals' privacy and ensure the confidentiality of personal information? In another context, what is the possibility of the existence of discrimination and bias in data presentation? Unintentionally, AI systems can create discriminatory and biased patterns based on inaccurate estimates and data, reflecting social, racial and gender biases and other known discrimination criteria worldwide. For example, AI algorithms can make unfair decisions or provide temporarily inaccurate data based on preconceived judgements and biased or negative patterns that violate human rights. Will monitoring and addressing this issue be possible to ensure that AI systems do not exceed these challenges?

Speaking of the extent of the impact of using AI on labour issues and the definite repercussions on the job market, we have all witnessed the immense change in the labour market in some sectors where intelligent machines have replaced workers. This may disrupt social balances and violate the right to work, let alone decent work in all its elements, which is considered one of the most important goals of sustainable development adopted by the United Nations for years, especially if there is a further expansion in the use of AI technologies.

The conversation about this topic extends, and we are still at the beginning of the road. Therefore, international human rights institutions, national organisations and civil society institutions must initiate dialogue and launch a platform to gather opinions on the extent of the impact of using AI technologies on the human rights system. Establishing legislation and policies that limit the misuse of AI technologies is necessary, which constitutes a violation of human rights. This necessarily means adopting an international convention and national laws that regulate dealing with AI to promote human rights values based on clear definitions, including a rights-based definition of AI. In addition, there is a need to create a system of values, principles and ethical standards that determine civil and criminal responsibility for safeguarding individuals' rights and privacy when collecting, processing, using and sharing data obtained from the use of AI. It is also vital to apply transparent and clear standards to enhance digital security and safety regarding the potential risks of using artificial intelligence and to conduct continuous testing and evaluation to ensure the effectiveness of safety and digital security standards.

The writer is Executive Director of Lawyers Without Borders-Jordan

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