‘Technologization’ of Human Rights With AI, ML, and Robotics

technology and human rights
Ar/Vr Development / Technology

‘Technologization’ of Human Rights With AI, ML, and Robotics

When technology has touched even the smallest chords of our lives, let’s have a look at how our basic human rights have been impacted by the same.

The evolution of the latest technology offers tremendous utility and hope. While online platforms have widened access to content, digital media outlets have provided activists with easy ways of organizing groups and exchanging messages on a larger scale. Emerging technology greatly improves the production and accuracy of data that is beneficial for community, policy, and health care decisions. According to experts, these innovations would generate new markets, improve productivity, and help optimize human capacity.

However, at the same time, exponential advances in artificial intelligence, automation, and robotics are posing concerns about their effect on human rights and the prospects of jobs. The use of computers to increase productivity contributes to increased socio-economic disparity and job losses. Facilitated by digital technology, the rise of the “gig economy” has led to transforming the nature of employment by increasing the availability of versatile jobs that offer opportunities for some while adversely impacting others’ livelihoods. Also, mass data gathering abuses the right to privacy and hinders open and equal communities.

While human rights groups are investigating to ensure that technical advancements favor all citizens and do not increase injustice for disadvantaged communities, let us dive a bit deeper into the latest technologies and dig out their impact on human rights.

Artificial Intelligence and Human Rights

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a machine that is engineered and configured to perform or respond like people. The approach entails AI addressing difficult questions, understanding, and developing itself over time. Experts think that AI will ultimately imitate and execute activities like a person at the pace at which the technology is evolving.

technology and human rights

In any important area of human life, the beneficial applications of AI are beyond comparison. The software is now deployed in pharmacy as well as commonly used in consumer electronics. To support the driver with parking, protection, and adaptive cruise control, most new vehicles are also equipped with AI. Given all the positive AI brings to the table, in daily human life, there is still the looming danger of its disruptive ability.

In a broad variety of fields, including healthcare, education, law enforcement, employment, and social responsibility, the use of AI and its underlying technology can impact life. Since AI has the ability to breach human rights and weaken the rules that protect them, some problems need to be taken into account. Due to the possibility of expanded monitoring and tracking, the use of big data along with AI will violate the right to privacy. Groups who have access to cutting-edge AI technologies can scan faster than any other person to get hold of public information and other accessible data. Added to this, tracking a person anywhere in the world has become much easier now.

Malicious bots are capable of creating fake news and content more efficiently than any human writer might have created online. The misinformation, like wildfire, can be distributed by AI-powered social media algorithms to propagate daily content. AI can also work against democracy, against the ban of segregation, and against access to other basic liberties, such as civil and personal liberty. Based on gathered consumer data, AI is now forecasting marketing patterns, something many people considered immoral.

technology and human rights

Algorithmic bias inequality is one case that is quoted sometimes. This challenge reveals apparent human bias in performance because the historical data fed to the AI algorithm training method naturally has prejudices towards some segments of society. As a consequence, the corrupted data is perpetuated and incorporated in the system and a certain group of individuals is often targeted by the algorithm.

Many people have shared their concern over a more human rights policy for AI enforcement. Decisions on AI policy and its effect on human rights need to be taken care of immediately to cater to its adverse effects. Companies and governments shall conduct their due diligence with haste in all AI sectors. Even the law enforcement industry has changed AI profoundly. Now, they also accomplish crime reduction through AI. While the involvement of AI with every sector gets deeper, control needs to begin now.

Machine Learning and Human Rights

Machine learning (ML) is a sub-field of artificial intelligence with the purpose of helping machines to learn on their own. The machine will detect patterns, create models that describe the universe, and make predictions through the computer algorithm without needing pre-programmed rules and models controlling the predictions. Before ML, it was important to manually identify patterns for classifying details, which was a long-winded procedure. ML has led to a dramatic decrease in the work required, which can be diverted into other activities based on human rights. There are many websites and tools that provide ML information. When working within the area of ML, Distill insists on consistency and openness. Google has developed many learning resources and games to explain the principles and approaches within ML that people can pursue. In addition, there are online resources in more than 10 languages to implement ML, such as R2D3, which can be very useful for non-English-speaking practitioners. It is proposed that practitioners would have a greater ability to reach the ML room with the advancement of infrastructure since there are comparatively low-cost resources available.

Though ML is in its developing stage, it has already been integrated into some studies on human rights. ML projects can help identify violations of human rights, strengthen current processes, and eliminate risky circumstances. Practitioners are also presented with studies, evidence, and other material that has to be categorized when focusing on human rights. Other newly emerging resources are those that can track objects, voice, text, and event form through video analysis, which enables users to run semantic queries inside video collections to determine what is going on. In massive video datasets, they can also record human rights abuses, forecast court trials, and be used as open access machine vision software.

AI, ML & Robotics

ML technology presents human rights defenders with fascinating new possibilities when it can lead to a substantial decrease in the amount of time that practitioners need to categorize and label material. It is proposed that ML can be used to make procedures more efficient, but that humans should make the last call for decisions that revolve around crucial facets of personal and social life. Special attention has been paid to ensure that equity, openness, and diversity are present in ML systems to alleviate these realistic and conceptual problems.

Despite the many valuable uses of ML in the field of human rights, there is a disparity in human rights defenders’ awareness of ML and its potential,  while ML practitioners fail to grasp the practice of human rights. Open and diverse dialogue between the two parties, as well as further long-term ventures where the various participants work closely together, was included in order to bridge the difference. In addition, Machine Learning’s Justice, Openness and Transparency offers tools that can resonate with both human rights advocates and ML professionals, as it plays a central role within the field of human rights, and interacts with discussions around ML systems’ architecture and implementation processes.

Robotics and Human Rights

A limited percentage of AI use today is reflected by the use of AI in robotics. Robotics, though is in its evolving phase, robots are gradually going to play a part in our lives. However, the sense in which AI-powered robots are used today may pose new difficulties.

In several nations, fully autonomous weapons systems are currently under production. The growing use of drones and related weapons means that non-state players who are not constrained by conventional armed war rules are likely to have access to autonomous arms. In the near future, autonomous weapons are likely to suffer from the failure of AI to cope with nuances or unpredictable occurrences. This may result in the death or destruction of innocent people in a war situation where a human operator would have been able to prevent.

technology and human rights

The use of AI-powered robotics in healthcare may result in another challenge to the right to life. Robots are now being used to help with surgery, and it is possible to foresee the presence of fully autonomous surgical robots in the near future, as robots are used for rehabilitative treatment and general care environments. Inevitably, robots would take it in a wrong way. In comparison, if bad actors interact with health robots and are caused to inflict physical damage, it would become impossible to fix or correct the damage.

Related: Cybersecurity: Everything You Need to Know

Surveillance drones or other robots have long been used by the military, and law enforcement or non-state entities are now gradually using them as well. When fitted with AI-powered technologies, such as facial recognition technology, and made to be semi- or fully autonomous, such drones could deepen the effect of pervasive and intrusive surveillance that violates the necessary rules regulating the state when they are individually used to track a certain party or an individual.

While it is still in its infancy, the use of robotics in education is an active field of study. This involves robotics used in primary schools for activities such as teaching second languages, and for storytelling. The threats faced by AI-powered robots, as with more general AI, have to do with findings that breach fair access.

Final Words

It is a fact undeniable that technology has eased out our lives to a great extent and we are living in such an age where we cannot imagine passing our days without technology. However, as it is said that every coin has two sides – good and bad, and technology too, is not an exception. The growth of these technologies poses critical concerns as to whether our existing laws, legal frameworks and methods for documentation and activism are adequate to minimize the human rights risk that may arise. Well, the business organizations, that both develop and utilize these technologies as well as our government, which is responsible for the protection of our human rights, should look into the matter seriously and act responsibly.

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