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Artificial Intelligence Threatens Human Rights

Artificial intelligence can be used for helping societies overcome some challenges, but it also can have negative impacts and affect human rights.

AI is currently affecting every aspect of our physical and mental lives and even our emotional lives. AI systems are used to determine who gets public services, who get a chance of getting a job and control the information people see and can share online.

AI systems rely on large sets of data, which include information about individuals. It is collected, shared, combined, and analyzed in a variety of ways. The data used to enrich and guide AI systems may be flawed, discriminatory, outdated, or irrelevant. Long-term data storage creates certain risks, as data can be exploited in the future.

Accountability for how data is collected, stored, shared and used remains one of the most urgent issues, given the rapid growth of artificial intelligence, which raises conclusions, expectations and observations made by its tools, including the search for clarification on patterns of human behavior.

The biased data sets on which AI systems rely, may lead to discriminatory decisions, where marginalized groups remain more vulnerable to this type of risk, and risks of decisions that may change, limit or harm human lives. It is therefore absolutely essential that we systematically assess and monitor the impact of AI systems, in order to identify and mitigate human rights risks.

In our organisation we are concerned about the fast pace of applying AI applications by countries and companies. There have been many cases where people have been treated unfairly due to AI, like being denied Social Security benefits or being arrested for faulty facial recognition systems, exploiting their personal information, as happened with the Israeli Pegasus application, which affected most of the human rights activists, defenders and journalists in the world, and led to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, spying on the phone of French President Emmanuel Macron, and hundreds of other unreported cases.

We cannot continue to keep up with artificial intelligence and allow its use within certain limits and control or without oversight, only to deal with the inevitable consequences it will cause for human rights.

However, we cannot deny the ability of AI to serve people, despite its ability to fuel human rights abuses on a massive scale without any control. Therefore, immediate action to protect human rights in the context of the use of AI must be taken in the best interest of everyone.

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