UN says AI poses ‘serious risk’ for human rights


The UN rights chief has warned that recent advances in artificial intelligence. (Getty Images)

The United Nations rights chief on Saturday warned that recent advances in artificial intelligence posed a grave threat to human rights and called for safeguards to prevent violations.

This week more than 60 nations including the United States and China called for regulating AI in defence to ensure it “does not undermine international security, stability and accountability”.

There have been increasing concerns over things such as AI-guided drones, “slaughterbots” that can kill with no human intervention and the risk that artificial intelligence could escalate a military conflict.

“I am deeply disturbed by the potential for harm of recent advances in artificial intelligence,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk said.

“Human agency, human dignity and all human rights are at serious risk. This is an urgent call for both business and governments to develop quickly effective guardrails that are so urgently needed,” he said.

Artificial intelligence has entered our daily lives, revolutionising internet searches, changing the way we monitor our health and bringing up new innovations such as an app capable of generating all sorts of written content in seconds on a simple request.

Critics have raised issues such as breaches of privacy and biased algorithms.

“We will follow this closely, provide our specific expertise and ensure that the human rights dimension remains central to how this goes forward,” Turk said.


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