Sue Anne Teo
JUR Juridisk Ph.d.-uddannelse
Karen Blixens Plads 16, 2300 København S, Søndre Campus, Bygning: 6A.4.05
Title: Human Rights 2.0: A Primer for the Age of Artificial Intelligence
Few recent developments have captured the human imagination as much as developments within the field of artificial intelligence (‘AI’). From the provision of innocuous services such as individually tailored music selection to worries over the potential misuse of autonomous weapons systems, the pervasiveness of AI, even in its ubiquitous but relatively limited forms today, is hard to ignore. As AI being deployed not in a blank slate but rather against the backdrop of social conditions that affect individuals and societies, it is unavoidable for human rights considerations to enter into the fold.
Yet the human rights concerns that have been raised in relation to emerging AI have primarily concentrated around infringements on the right to privacy and the freedom of expression. While important to examine the discrete rights under threat, a fundamental disconnect is present at the foundational level between human rights and AI, rendering the former ill-suited to cope with the nature of AI systems that will increasingly challenge the notions of how, by whom and what human rights violations are being committed. The emphasis on state accountability and the requirement for the identification and articulation of discrete violations in legal human rights terms structurally clash when evaluated against potential ‘violations’ caused by AI technologies embodying increasingly ‘autonomous’ characteristics and the private sector driven design, development and deployment of these technologies that sidesteps the state responsibility accountability model. The existing human rights vernacular also cannot meaningful confront the discriminatory effects of AI technologies that manifests itself in diffused and disparate ways where neither the grounds for discrimination nor its immediate effects are obvious. The majority of scholarship within the field of human rights and digital technologies take the sufficiency of the human rights regime as a given starting point and fails to acknowledge the complex legal responsibility and network effect nexuses that characterize AI technologies.
Having analysed why the current human rights protection regime cannot sufficiently account for the full ambit of rights protection, the research also intends to examine the enabling conditions that can prime a human rights accountability and regulatory model better suited for the age of AI.
Major research questions
There are three major questions in the proposed research:
- What are the challenges posed by AI technologies towards the existing human rights protection regime?
- Why is it necessary to look beyond the threats to discrete rights and into examining the challenges it poses towards the foundational concepts underpinning the human rights protection regime?
- How should these systemic distortions be addressed?