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The session addressed the impact on individual rights of emerging technologies, namely artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), data mining, and blockchain, and explored how to frame the debate on the future of rights, considering technological advancement.
The session focused on the following topics:
1. Emerging technologies: The impact of interaction between man, machine, and the data generated by both on rights holders.
2. How the future of rights looks vis-à-vis the exchange between the IoT, and humans, and is algorithmic literacy an indispensable criterion to technology transparency?
3. How do we holistically implement a rights approach to emerging technologies deployment? – An overview of ongoing efforts to integrate the rights of individuals, by design.
Ms Hanane Boujemi, Steering Committee Member and Former Co-Chair of the IRPC, introduced the session, followed by a short introduction to the panel: Ms Sarah Moulton, Senior Technology Innovation Analyst- NDI (NGO), and Mr Walid El-Saqaf, Senior Lecturer, Sördertörn University Stockholm (Academia/ Technical community).
The panel discussed how emerging technologies are no longer ‘emerging’ as they are now part of our daily lives through the IoT, e-commerce, etc. They should therefore have rights embedded from the start, and not after the technologies are out in the world. Also important is the aspect of accountability, as sometimes there is lot of enthusiasm to use these technologies, but a disconnect between their use and the policies that should frame them, or their impact, or obligations of the companies who own or control those technologies.
To really target the disconnect between product development and policy implementation the panel found that it would be important to educate users, and to look for the aspects of accountability. Should companies have in place a set of policies to ensure that human rights are protected? Who oversees that those rights are protected – governments? The question of digital literacy is pertinent, but can it function at a user level? It is very difficult due to the huge volume of data in circulation: it would therefore be impossible for anyone to comprehend particular security tools, or a clear process, should be implemented to deal with the magnitude and complexity of data.
As people’s lives are more and more controlled by algorithms it is important for people to know how to deal with and manage sensitive data, when automated sources are used. The situation should be of accountability and human rights applied by design to emerging technologies.