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Commission calls for ethical AI

Technology and Human Rights
Woman with high tech facial display
Content type: Media Release
Topic(s): Facial Recognition Technology, Technology, Privacy and Data, Artificial Intelligence, Federal Discrimination Law

Discussion Paper

The Australian Human Rights Commission has set out a template for change for how artificial intelligence (AI) and emerging technologies are developed and used in Australia.

In its Discussion Paper, the Commission makes wide-ranging proposals for safeguarding human rights and encouraging accessible, equal and accountable use of new technology in Australia.

The proposals for discussion range from a moratorium on the potentially harmful use of facial recognition technology in Australia, and more accessible technology for people with disability. Where AI is used to make a significant decision, any affected individual should be able to understand the basis of the decision and, if necessary, challenge it.

The Discussion Paper draws on the Commission’s extensive community and expert consultation. It proposes practical improvements in applying existing human rights and consumer protections to the development and use of new technologies.

Ethical AI

“Accountability and the rule of law are fundamental to Australia’s democracy. We need to uphold these principles more effectively in how AI is developed and used,” said Human Rights Commissioner Edward Santow.

“Emerging technologies can bring great societal benefits, but people are starting to realise their personal information can also be used against them.

“In the last year we’ve seen troubling examples of emerging technology being ‘beta tested’ on vulnerable members of our community, and we’ve seen AI used to make high-stakes decisions that have had serious human rights impacts on individuals both in Australia and overseas.

“In releasing this Discussion Paper, the Commission is setting out a template for change in how we develop and use AI and emerging technologies.

“As AI becomes central to everything from service delivery to healthcare, we’re inviting everyone to have their say on the proposals in this discussion paper. The decisions we make now will be critical in defining how we live in the immediate future.”