Artificial intelligence systems are used to determine who gets public services and decide who has a chance of being recruited for a job, said the UN rights chief, warning that the data collected can be compromised, out of date and even discriminatory.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Wednesday called for a moratorium on the sale and use of artificial intelligence (AI) systems that threaten human rights until that adequate safeguards are in place to ensure that the technology will not be abused.
“We cannot afford to continue to catch up on AI – by allowing its use with limited or no limits or oversight, and dealing with the almost inevitable human rights consequences after the fact,” Bachelet said in a statement. Press release.
The UN Human Rights Office issued a report Wednesday, warning of the risks of AI technologies and stressing that while AI can serve as a force for good, it can also cause catastrophic effects if used irresponsibly.
“The complexity of the data environment, algorithms and models underlying the development and operation of AI systems, as well as the intentional secrecy of government and private actors are factors that undermine meaningful means for the public. to understand the effects of AI systems on human rights and society, ”the report says.
Bachelet, who is the UN human rights chief, stressed that AI applications that do not comply with international human rights law should be banned.
“The power of AI to serve people is undeniable, but so too is AI’s ability to fuel human rights violations on a massive scale with virtually no visibility. Steps are needed now to put human rights safeguards on the use of AI, for the good of all of us, ”Bachelet stressed.
AI’s abilities to profile and automate decision-making – along with its other uses – threaten a myriad of human rights. This may affect “the rights to health, education, freedom of movement, freedom of peaceful assembly and association, and freedom of expression,” the human rights office warned. of ONU.
“AI systems are used to determine who gets public services, decide who has a chance of being hired for a job, and of course, they affect the information people see and can share online,” said the high commissioner.
The report expresses deep concern that some countries and the private sector are adopting AI applications without first studying the myriad risks of the technology.
There have already been some dangerous blunders, the UN office said, noting cases where people have been denied social security benefits or been arrested because of faulty facial recognition.
AI systems often collect, share, merge and analyze data in opaque ways. Information collected by AI can be compromised, outdated and even discriminatory.
“The risk of discrimination from AI-based decisions – decisions that can change, define or harm human lives – is all too real,” Bachelet said. “This is why there is a need for systematic assessment and monitoring of the effects of AI systems to identify and mitigate human rights risks.”