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Welcome to the Official Schedule for RightsCon Toronto 2018. This year’s program, built by our global community, is our most ambitious one yet. Within the program, you will find 18 thematic tracks to help you navigate our 450+ sessions

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Last updated: Version 2.3 (Updated May 15, 2018).

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Thursday, May 17 • 17:15 - 18:15
Harnessing Big Data and Artificial Intelligence to Advance Knowledge Societies and Sustainable Development

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The development and application of Artificial Intelligence technologies could profoundly shape humanity’s access to information and knowledge, impact communication and the practice of journalism, as well as bring positive implications particularly for the rights to freedom of expression, privacy and association. AI has also great potential to foster open and inclusive knowledge societies (especially for marginalized groups, including persons with disabilities, rural populations, indigenous peoples), to promote open educational resources, digital persistence, cultural diversity, and scientific progress. In turn, these can all contribute to achieve democracy, peace and the sustainable development goals.

On the other hand, AI could also exacerbate inequalities such as between languages in terms of speech-to-text and translation capabilities. AI and automated processes, fuelled by big data, also raise concerns for human rights, particularly to freedom of information, freedom of expression and the right to privacy. The use of AI in content moderation on the Internet without human judgement or due process can have a negative impact on the right to impart, seek and receive information, as well as on accountability, transparency and a shared public sphere. Issues of gender and racial discrimination are also being embedded into AI systems, with adverse effects. These ethical issues accompany questions about the technical divide that already exists between developed and developing countries.

 UNESCO therefore sees an urgent need to take a global, pluralistic, multidisciplinary and multi-stakeholder (e.g. public and private sectors, developed and developing countries, etc.) reflection on the ethical framework that will guide the development of AI technologies. The Organization wishes to explore these issues and reflect whether it is possible to harness big data and AI technologies as a process to advance human rights, build inclusive knowledge societies and achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

This session aims to trigger debates and reflections on multiple ethical/political/social/legal implications of the development and application of big data and Artificial Intelligence towards building inclusive knowledge societies and achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

avatar for Xianhong Hu

Xianhong Hu

Programme Specialist, UNESCO
Dr. Xianhong Hu, UNESCO’s Programme Specialist at the Sector of Communication and Information since 2006. Her expertise and responsibilities are in the areas of freedom of expression, privacy, journalism, media development, Internet governance and AI policies. She has followed the... Read More →

avatar for Ramy Raoof

Ramy Raoof

Senior Technologist
Ramy is a technologist and privacy researcher, interacts with a wide spectrum ranging from NGOs, journalists, lawyers, politicians, and artists on the intersection of tech and social causes, mainly on privacy and security, by devoting his skills as a techie and passion for free/open... Read More →
avatar for Dhanaraj Thakur

Dhanaraj Thakur

Senior Research Manager, Alliance for Affordable Internet / Web Foundation

Thursday May 17, 2018 17:15 - 18:15 EDT