UN calls for moratorium on facial recognition and other AI systems
Share article:
Share article:

UN calls for moratorium on facial recognition and other AI systems

Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

The United Nations on Wednesday called for a moratorium on certain artificial intelligence systems, including facial recognition, while safeguards are put in place to protect human rights.

“Artificial intelligence technologies can have negative, even catastrophic effects if they are used without sufficient consideration of how they affect human rights,” said Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Bachelet called for a risk assessment of the different systems that rely on artificial intelligence, hoping to determine potential conflicts with the right to privacy or freedom of movement and expression.

But until these assessments can be carried out, “states should impose a moratorium on technologies that potentially present a great risk,” said the former Chilean President during the presentation of a new report on this subject.

The report, which was commissioned by the Human Rights Council (the UN’s highest body in this area), examined the way these technologies have often been introduced without proper assessment of how they work or their impact.

Research has shown that AI malfunctions have prevented people from receiving welfare benefits, finding employment or led to arrests of innocent people on the basis of poorly trained facial recognition systems that are often unable to correctly recognise people with African features.

“The risk of discrimination from decisions based on artificial intelligence – decisions that can change, stigmatise or harm a human life – is all too real,” Bachelet said.

The report pointed out that these artificial intelligences are trained with the help of huge databases, which are often built in an opaque way.

The databases themselves can be poorly designed or outdated, therefore contributing to human rights violations.

“We cannot afford to continue to try to catch up with the AI bandwagon and allow it to be used with little or no control, then repair the human rights consequences after the fact,” the High Commissioner said, while adding that she recognises that “the power of AI to serve people is undeniable.”

“But so is the ability of AI to fuel human rights abuses on a massive scale and almost invisibly,” Bachelet warned.

The Brussels Times

Latest news

Over 80,000 companies in Belgium non-compliant with anti-money laundering meassures
Over 80,000 companies and non-profits in Belgium are still not compliant with the Ultimate Business Owner (UBO) register, which is required of them ...
Increase in tax exemption for donations in Belgium fails to meet expectations
The increase from 45% to 60% in the tax exemption for donations, decided by the former federal government in June 2020, has cost Belgium more than ...
Sex workers in Belgium to get more social rights protection
The social rights of sex workers will soon be better protected in Belgium, Belga News Agency reports. The Council of Ministers has approved a draft ...
Belgian firms sent almost 266 billion euros to tax havens last year
Hundreds of Belgian firms sent close to 266 billion euros to tax havens last year, De Tijd reported on Saturday. Any Belgian individual or firm ...
Belgian investigator wins prestigious US prize
Olivier Hardy, an investigator with the federal police’s anti-terrorist unit in Brussels, DR3, received on Friday a "Top Cop" prize in Washington for ...
Pegasus Project: European Parliament awards journalism prize to investigation of use of spyware
The Daphne Caruana Prize for Journalism was awarded on Thursday to the journalists from the Pegasus Project coordinated by the Forbidden Stories ...
Belgians can now test their knowledge of driving rules and win prizes
The Walloon Road Safety Agency (AWSR) launched on Friday a quiz to allow the general public to test their knowledge of the highway code. Last year, ...
600 extras wanted for film about Belgian ‘Porn King’ and notorious Antwerp nightclub
A Belgian movie telling the story of a notorious Antwerp nightclub with connections to a Belgian 'Porn King' is looking for 600 extras at the end of ...
Namur Marathon relaunches after two years on hold
The next edition of the Namur Marathon will take place on April 24, 2022, its organisers announced on Friday, as they also opened registrations. ...
Lidl goes on strike: Half of supermarkets in Belgium closes on Saturday
One in two Lidl shops remained closed on Saturday morning, Lidl spokeswoman Isabelle Colbrandt said. Staff have been on strike for several days to ...
€220 million: Largest ever lottery prize in Europe won in France
A record-breaking €220 million Euromillions jackpot was won on Friday by a player in France, the French gaming authority (FDJ) has announced. The ...
Antwerp exhibition shows first photos after city bombed in 1944
An open-air exhibition in Antwerp will show off never before seen photos as part of a commemoration of the first V-bomb to hit the city, 77 years ...