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Artificial Intelligence Could Threaten Human Rights: UN

By Sofía Hanna | Thu, 09/16/2021 - 13:59

Artificial intelligence (AI) is being questioned by the UN since it has is finding widespread applications across numerous industries and economies. But the UN warns that both states and companies have rushed to incorporate AI software without exercising due diligence putting at risk undeniable and growing repercussions of artificial intelligence technologies in exercising the right to privacy and other human rights.

Michelle Bachelet, United Nations UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, delivered this message and showed her concerns.


The root of this UN report is that states and companies have often rushed to incorporate artificial intelligence software without exercising due diligence explained that. That is, there have been many cases of people who have been unfairly treated by this technology, either because they have been denied social security benefits or because they have been arrested as a result of errors in facial recognition systems. Artificial intelligence AI can be a force for good, helping societies overcome some of the greatest challenges of our time. But it can also have harmful and even catastrophic effects when used without paying due attention to its ability to violate human rights. The higher the risk to human rights, the stricter the legal requirements for the use of artificial intelligence should be, since assessing the dangers and how to overcome them may still take some time, States should now implement moratoriums on their use. of technologies that present a high-risk potential,” comments Bachelet in a recent UN report


This technology AI could not only exposes people’s private lives but also and makes them individuals vulnerable in other ways. For example, improper access by third parties to that personal data has repeatedly exposed the sensitive information of millions of people. The UN report points out that rights set out in the document as the most affected are the right to privacy, freedom of thought and opinion, freedom of expression, and a fair trial have been the most affected. Risks could increase with the growing prevalence of Emphasis is placed above all on biometric recognition that is based on the comparison of the digital representation of certain features of an individual, such as the face, fingerprint, iris, voice, or gait, with other representations of this type in a database. “This remote technology dramatically increases the ability of state authorities to systematically identify and track people in public spaces, undermining people’s ability to go about their lives unobserved and has a direct negative effect on the exercise of the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association, as well as freedom of movement.” 


To protect human rights, the recommendations that the UN gives several recommendations meant allow the states to be able to take full advantage of this AI without falling into the violation of rights, including are

  • Guarantee that the use of artificial intelligence AI complies with all human rights. That any interference with the right to privacy and other human rights as provided for by law pursues a legitimate objective and, complies with the principles of necessity and proportionality and does not harm the essence of the rights in question
  • Expressly prohibit artificial intelligence AI applications that cannot function in accordance with international human rights law and impose moratoriums on the sale and use of systems that pose a high risk to the enjoyment of human rights, unless and until adequate safeguards are in place to protect human rights
  • Through independent and impartial authorities, adopt and effectively enforce data privacy legislation for the public and private sectors as an essential prerequisite for the protection of the right to privacy in the context of artificial intelligence
  • Guarantee that victims of human rights violations and abuses related to the use of artificial intelligence AI systems have access to effective resources. 
The data used in this article was sourced from:  
Sofía Hanna Sofía Hanna Journalist and Industry Analyst