Artificial Intelligence | Emerging Trends
April 28, 2017

How artificial intelligence can help boost human rights: Amnesty International

By Sherif Elsayed-Ali

Amnesty International’s mission is simple: we want everyone in the world to enjoy their human rights.

Human rights are the modern embodiment of centuries-old human ideals: justice, equality, freedom and dignity.

Many of the freedoms that billions of people take for granted today would not have been possible without decades of hard work to codify human rights principles into law, implement them, monitor them and campaign for them to be respected and protected by governments and private bodies. Yet, there is much that still needs to be done.

Today’s political, economic and technological changes can create risks and opportunities for human rights.

In this era of unprecedented technological advances, those who work on technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics, and genetic engineering have a great responsibility to ensure that these technologies are safe and respect people’s rights.

Technology can play an influential and positive role in helping to tackle humanity’s problems, including human rights challenges.

XPRIZE’s mission to encourage the development of technology to change the world for the better is an inspiring example.

There are many challenges for human rights globally that technology could help tackle. For example, could artificial intelligence help solve some of the following issues?

Violence and harassment online

How can we track, quantify and address online harassment and violence against women and minority groups, while respecting privacy and freedom of speech?

Abuse against refugees and migrants

How does xenophobic, racist rhetoric from public figures affect attitudes towards refugees and migrants?

Turning noise to signal

Helping human rights researchers discover evidence of abuses in an ever-growing sea of often unstructured information shared through digital channels.

Understanding public sentiment reliably and efficiently to more effectively mobilise people to advocate for their rights, and campaign against human rights abuses where they’re happening.

These are just a few examples. There are doubtless numerous other ways in which different technologies could help end human rights abuses and protect dignity, freedom and justice globally.

The AI for Good Global Summit could offer a fantastic opportunity to galvanize expertise and knowledge in the field of artificial intelligence to help make the dream of human rights protection for all a reality.

Sherif Elsayed-Ali
Mr. Elsayed-Ali is head of technology and human rights at Amnesty International. He studied engineering and international law at the American University in Cairo and has a master in public administration from Harvard Kennedy School.
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