ADMs, AI and human rights: does your algorithm respect privacy?

What do highway speed cameras, customs and border controls, and e-procurement of school inventory have in common? They all use some form of an Automated Decision Making (ADM) process.

Whilst not a popular term as AI, ADMs have been around for some time now. In the past, ADMs were confined to “filtering”, “sorting” or other types of data manipulation, whose results was then cast to the decision maker – notably, an actual human being who got to make the final decision.

However, with the advances of technology, as well as the need to curb corruption and limit the human element in decision-making (in many cases), a full-fledged AI solution is deployed, which differs from an ADM mainly in two ways: A) the system is “learning” and getting better at doing its job (hence, the intelligence part), and B) the system is making decisions.

In a sense, algorithms will continue to have an impact on citizens well-being, but do they take into account their innate human rights? Where are the CSOs, the media and universities in the discussion of implementing increasingly sophisticated tech solutions, and why are they shying away from taking a seat at the table?

On Day 2 of the eSociety 2021 conference “Democracy in the Digital Age: challenges and opportunities”, we will discuss the increasing trend in recent years in utilizing ADM’s and AI in public service (dubbed alGOVrithms, alluding to government use) and their effect on human rights. Speakers will present their latest findings and recommendations and will try to encourage CSOs and others to actively engage in this topic.

Registration for the conference is open, and we encourage everyone to share this call among peers: join us, and let’s discuss human rights & AI!


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Programme Support Officer, Metamorphosis Foundation

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