Date: 
Monday 3 December 2018
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Australia’s Human Rights Commissioner Edward Santow has today discussed the opportunities and challenges artificial intelligence poses to our rights, at a G7 conference in Montreal.

Building on the G7 Innovation Ministers’ Statement on Artificial Intelligence, the Multistakeholder Conference on Artificial Intelligence was convened to “enable environments that foster societal trust and the responsible adoption of AI, and build upon a common vision of human-centric AI.”

This week, about 150 participants selected by G7 partners are expected to participate, including thought leaders on AI from both the public and private sectors, civil society and academia.

Commissioner Santow discussed AI governance and human rights on a panel with Christina ColClough, the Director of Platform and Agency Workers, Digitalization and Trade UNI Global Union and Amnesty International Advocate and Adviser for Technology and Human Rights, Eimear Farrell.

“Artificial intelligence is increasingly being used in decisions that affect individuals’ basic rights – such as in recruitment, the criminal justice system and in insurance. People have a right to understand the basis of those decisions,” Commissioner Santow said.

“Our challenge is to ensure that decision-making systems using AI are transparent, accountable and are designed in a way that protects people’s basic human rights.

“This forum has seen robust discussion among leaders from industry, civil society and government on how to improve the application of international human rights standards to AI and other new technologies.”

While in Montreal, the Commissioner will also meet with Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains to talk about the human rights implications of big data.

Commissioner Santow is leading the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Human Rights and Technology Project, which is exploring how to ensure the rights of Australians are protected in the context of innovations like AI, big data and algorithmic decision making.

Following the release of an Issues Paper in July, the project has received 115 submissions and 19 roundtables, hearing from more than 300 individuals from government, industry, academia, civil society and the legal sector.

A discussion paper with draft recommendations for ensuring innovation enhances rather than diminishes human rights is due for release in 2019.

Learn more about the Human Rights and Technology Project here.