In a new report, the United Nations (UN) has warned countries that the reckless use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) may be undermining respect for human rights.
Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, urged countries to become more aware of the use of AI, as the indiscriminate use of some systems can pose a substantial risk to human rights – especially facial recognition technologies .
The report warns that if states do not begin to develop effective security strategies already, the launch of AI applications in daily life could become more harmful than beneficial to the population.
“The power of AI to serve people is undeniable, but so is AI’s ability to nurture human rights violations on a huge scale”, he stressed.
The head of the United Nations also reinforced that countries should ban all applications that undermine human rights, since many of them end up divide human populations based on ethnicity or gender.
Artificial Intelligence can “have negative, even catastrophic, effects if used without consideration of how it affects people’s rights”, the report reads.
Bachelet’s position shows the UN’s concern about how many countries, as well as large corporations, are implementing AI systems that drastically affect the lives and livelihoods of ordinary citizens.
Peggy Hicks, responsible for the UN Department of Human Rights, underlines that the report does not serve to ask states to exclude Artificial Intelligence, but rather to be more aware in their decision-making. “Recognize that if AI is used, it must be used in the right way,” he appealed.
The awareness of the subject was directed to all countries in the world, and the UN did not specify any particular state.
However, it is known that China is one of the countries in the world that most use Artificial Intelligence to identify members of different ethnicities. This practice is usual for the control of the Xinjan region, where the population belonging to the Uighur minority.
“The use of recognition systems by public authorities, for example, to select individuals for detention or to assess the veracity of statements during interrogations, runs the risk of undermining human rights, such as the rights to privacy, freedom and a fair trial”, states the report.
Regulation of the use of Artificial Intelligence has been a concern between the member states of the European Union.
In July, the use of this tool was discussed in Brussels, where MEPs showed interest in regulating its use in urban spaces.