IGF 2019 WS #363 Human Rights in the Governance of AI

Organizer 1: Megan Metzger, Stanford University, Global Digital Policy Incubator
Organizer 2: Eileen Donahoe, Global Digital Policy Incubator, Stanford Universiiy

Speaker 1: Wolfram von Heynitz, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Fanny Hidvegi, Civil Society, Eastern European Group
Speaker 3: Vidushi Marda, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 4: Xianhong Hu, Intergovernmental Organization, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Policy Question(s): 

How can human rights be used as a framework to tackle the new challenges posed by AI?
How can we use a human rights lens to ensure that AI is fair, and that we maximize the possibilities of technology while minimizing its risks?
What are the practical approaches that should be taken by governments and by companies in order to ensure that human rights are protected as AI technologies advance?

Relevance to Theme: This panel will be focused on practical approaches to the application of human rights frameworks in the context of AI. As technology advances, the use of these frameworks for the governance of AI technology will be critical in ensuring that we reap the benefits of new technologies, while ensuring that the human person is central and that human rights are respected. This is an important emerging topic in technology governance.

Relevance to Internet Governance: Thinking about how to apply human rights in the context of the governance of new technologies is going to be one of the central problems in creating good governance of the internet. This session will be focused on developing in practical terms the right approaches to using human rights in the governance of AI.


Panel - Auditorium - 90 Min

Description: In recent months, numerous private sector actors, civil society organizations, and multistakeholder collaborations have published principles on the ethical governance of artificial intelligence. This includes initiatives by Google, Microsoft, BSR, IEEE, OpenAI, and the multistakeholder Toronto Declaration. While valuable, these declarations are often drafted in reaction to a crisis rather than preemptively, and have yet to coalesce into a universally accepted foundation for the use of AI/ML tools that is rooted in international human rights norms. In this session, panelists will discuss in the impact of AI/ML technologies on the enjoyment of human rights, including freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association, the right to privacy, the right to work, and the right to non-discrimination and to equal protection of the law. Next, the speakers will discuss the opportunities and challenges of applying a human rights framework to future AI technologies. Finally, participants will engage in a conversation with the audience on the implications of artificial intelligence, particularly in countries outside the highly industrialized world. This interactive section will take on the challenges of ensuring that AI tools are deployed in ways that comply with international human rights standards, particularly in light of the growing role of non-democratic states in the development of artificial intelligence.

Expected Outcomes: This session aims to help identify practical ways to incorporate human rights frameworks into the governance of artificial intelligence, building on international human rights law and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. It will help policymakers recognize the value of the existing human rights framework to confront emerging challenges related to machine learning and artificial intelligence, taking into account the varying impact of these technologies in different countries. Finally, it will promote the idea of a standardized ethical model that applies at every stage of designing and deploying the tools that use these technologies.

Onsite Moderator: 

Eileen Donahoe, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Online Moderator: 

Megan Metzger, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Megan Metzger, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Discussion Facilitation: 

While the structure proposed is a panel, we plan to structure the panel to include substantial opportunity for interaction from the audience. Each speaker will give a brief presentation, but the remainder of the time will be for audience questions, and discussion. This will provide an opportunity for the audience to hear from key experts, but also to engage with them in meaningful ways.

Online Participation: 

We are excited about the opportunity for online participation to expand the audience of the panel, and opportunities for participation from those not able to attend. We anticipate that contributions from the online community will greatly improve engagement.


GOAL 4: Quality Education
GOAL 5: Gender Equality
GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities
GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions