By Lorna McGregor
This post originally appeared on EJIL: Talk!
In the field of artificial intelligence, the spectacle of the ‘killer robot’ looms large. In my work for the ESRC Human Rights, Big Data and Technology Project, I am often asked about what the ‘contemporary killer robot’ looks like and what it means for society. In this post, I offer some reflections on why I think the image of the ‘killer robot’ – once a mobiliser for dealing with autonomous weapons systems – is now narrowing and distorting the debate and taking us away from the broader challenges posed by artificial intelligence, particularly for human rights.
In order to address these challenges, I argue that we have to recognise the speed at which technology is developing. This requires us to be imaginative enough to predict and be ready to address the risks of new technologies ahead of their emergence. The example of self-driving cars is a good illustration of technology having arrived before regulatory issues have been resolved. To do otherwise means that we will be perpetually behind the state of technological development and regulating retrospectively. We therefore need to future-proof regulation, to the extent possible, which requires much more forward-thinking and prediction than we have engaged in so far. Continue reading
By Daragh Murray and Pete Fussey
The UK Government has published the Draft Data Retention and Acquisition Regulations 2018, which propose changes to the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 (IPA) and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA). Both the IPA and RIPA provide a legal basis for Government surveillance, including bulk surveillance techniques.
The changes included in the draft were brought about, in large part, as a result of adverse findings by the Court of Justice of the European Union in the Watson case, which held that the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights:
…must be interpreted as precluding national legislation governing the protection and security of traffic and location data and, in particular, access of the competent national authorities to the retained data, where the objective pursued by that access, in the context of fighting crime, is not restricted solely to fighting serious crime, where access is not subject to prior review by a court or an independent administrative authority, and where there is no requirement that the data concerned should be retained within the European Union. (para 125)
By Dr Andrew Fagan
On Thursday 20 June 2018, the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and the US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, announced that the US was taking the unprecedented move of formally withdrawing from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). America’s two most senior diplomats sought to justify the not-unexpected decision by graphically depicting the UN’s foremost human rights body as entirely unfit for purpose. They explained that despite the US’s concerted attempts to reform the body, the work of the UNHRC was irreparably compromised by the presence of several human rights-violating Member States on the Council. Haley denounced the Council as “a protector of human rights abusers and a cesspool of political bias.” She then proceeded to argue that the US was compelled to withdraw from the foremost UN human rights body precisely because of what she presented as the US’s unequivocal support for human rights. In another communication, Haley declared that the US would remain a “world leader” in the continuing fight for human rights. She stopped short of evoking the Scriptural “city on the hill” symbolism which often accompanies the US’s self-identification as the global moral super-power, but her message was clear enough: true defenders of human rights must not continue to support the UNHRC and should join the US in taking such a politically “courageous” move.
By Luis F. Yanes
This blog originally appeared on SLSA Blog.
From Aristotle to contemporary thinkers, many have suggested that there is a human instinct to produce and to enjoy artistic experiences or expressions. But how to define such natural instinct? When we really enjoy something – something we believe to be well done and particularly beautiful – like a car, a house, a table, or even a person, we tend to refer it as ‘a piece of art’, highlighting a distinct characteristic that it has from everything else. Is art then beauty?