Artificial Intelligence and Human rights – online tool for assessing their relationship


Modern technology seems to have a two-folded character and is often both promise and threat at the same time. When adopting a new technology, it is not only important to have the intended advantages in mind but also the other, unintended possibly dangerous effects - technological innovations have complex implications which have to be considered. This applies especially to artificial intelligence, which may be crucial for human development, but also raises ethic question of high relevance – considering e.g. disputed topics like autonomous driving or social credit systems.

This conflict was the incentive for the Berkman Klein Center of Harvard University to publish an online tool showcasing the relationship between 6 applications of artificial intelligence and human rights, represented by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The heart of the tool is an interactive chart. Here, blue points represent the 30 articles of the Human rights declaration and the surrounding six points key applications of artificial intelligence:

  • Criminal Justice: Risk Assessments
  • Access to the Financial Systems: Credit Scores
  • Healthcare: Diagnostics
  • Education: Automated Essay Scoring
  • Online Content Moderation: Standards Enforcement
  • Human Resource Management: AI in Recruitment and Hiring

By clicking on one of these applications, extensive text information becomes visible on where and how this kind of artificial intelligence is respectively could be important. Lines between the human rights points and the AI application points indicate relationships between them. By moving the cursor over the human right points, a little text describing the relationship becomes apparent. Both positive and negative information is collected here. For example the use of artificial intelligence in the financial sector may provide more opportunities for adequate living standards (article 25) but may at the same time weaken the ability right for freedom of opinion (article 19) and information because expressions become relevant factors for lending.

The provided information can be used for various purposes, ranging from material for teaching to your own or future technology project. The tool is based on a larger report called "Artificial Intelligence & Human Rights: Opportunities and Risks" which is available online for free. Also have a look on the introduction to the tool on the Berkman Klein Center website.

Stakeholder in charge: TU Dortmund

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