UN raises concerns on the rapid growth of AI

September 16, 2021 | 4 minutes read

United Nations (UN) official urge for a moratorium on Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools that are breaching human rights

The advancement of Artificial Intelligence-based technologies and their rapid adoption by government and businesses all around the globe have recently become the source of concern for the United Nations (UN). As the UN terms these technologies as a threat to Human Rights. Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations  Commissioner for Human Rights warned that the acquisition of AI at such a fast rate has outpaced the efforts to hold the AI-powered systems to human rights standards.

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Michele Bachelet, President of Chile speaks during the Special Session of the Human Rights Council. 29 March 2017.Image Credits. UN news

She further called for a moratorium on Artificial Intelligence systems and technologies that have the potential to put human rights at risk She also said in a statement that “We cannot afford to continue playing catch-up regarding AI — allowing its use with limited or no boundaries or oversight, and dealing with the almost inevitable human rights consequences after the fact.”  

These remarks came alongside the publication of a report by the United Nations Human Rights Council analyzing the human rights risks because of various AI technologies with the inclusion of profiling, automated decision-making, and machine learning. Bachelet opined that the unrestricted use of these technologies can be “catastrophic”.The report also pointed out that the data utilized by AI technology can have historical, racial, and ethnic biases which can propagate and enhance discrimination.

As many  AI tools nowadays also seek to predict the outcomes and assess risks that can provide insights into the pattern of human behavior. Moreover, the report also raised warnings that these data analyzing and data matching facilities can create bias in terms of loan or welfare facilities. Whether we consider this or not but the current emerging trends in the utilization of technology are no doubt causing the rise of artificial intelligence at a much faster rate than we all think.

The Epic Rise of Artificial Intelligence: 

The UN commissioner is right to argue that AI has now reached “almost every corner of our physical and mental lives and even emotional states.” Because the technologies built on the edifice of Artificial Intelligence (AI)  are increasing each and every day. These AI-based systems are exercising heavy impact in the way they are sculpting society in terms of the utilization of data and technology.  The sectors that play a pivotal role in the progress of society are using AI to maximize their efficiency and efficacy. For instance, in the healthcare sector, AI is doing wonders that were never imagined before. Such as with the help of single brain detection AI can determine the risks of dementia in patients. Other than this AI-powered systems also aid in surgeries and patient care. In addition to this, AI is revolutionizing the field of the education sector too as it is paving way for the future of smart learning. In addition to all of this, it might be hard to believe but  AI will soon be able to detect the future.

With this rise of AI technology,  the determination of its limits and deciding the due accountability process can be difficult yet at the same time, this is the suppressing need of an hour. Because AI technology in no way should violate the rights of privacy and protection delegated to everyone under human rights. No doubt, Bachelet is right to say that “Given the rapid and continuous growth of AI, filling the immense accountability gap in how data is collected, stored, shared and used is one of the most urgent human rights questions we face.” But Artificial Intelligence in no terms should be considered as a threat to humans yet there should be laws, rules, and regulations for controlling it. 

There are already laws present in relation to data protection and privacy like European Union General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR), UK’s GDPR, and  California Consumer Privacy Act  (CCPA) in the USA, moreover, there are many regional laws in regards to data protection of every country too. Therefore these laws can be enhanced further with the inclusion of aspects of AI. Or by taking every stakeholder onboard new laws can be drafted.