Artificial intelligence, human rights, democracy, and the rule of law: a primer

04/02/2021 ∙ by David Leslie, et al. ∙ 0

In September 2019, the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers adopted the terms of reference for the Ad Hoc Committee on Artificial Intelligence (CAHAI). The CAHAI is charged with examining the feasibility and potential elements of a legal framework for the design, development, and deployment of AI systems that accord with Council of Europe standards across the interrelated areas of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. As a first and necessary step in carrying out this responsibility, the CAHAI's Feasibility Study, adopted by its plenary in December 2020, has explored options for an international legal response that fills existing gaps in legislation and tailors the use of binding and non-binding legal instruments to the specific risks and opportunities presented by AI systems. The Study examines how the fundamental rights and freedoms that are already codified in international human rights law can be used as the basis for such a legal framework. The purpose of this primer is to introduce the main concepts and principles presented in the CAHAI's Feasibility Study for a general, non-technical audience. It also aims to provide some background information on the areas of AI innovation, human rights law, technology policy, and compliance mechanisms covered therein. In keeping with the Council of Europe's commitment to broad multi-stakeholder consultations, outreach, and engagement, this primer has been designed to help facilitate the meaningful and informed participation of an inclusive group of stakeholders as the CAHAI seeks feedback and guidance regarding the essential issues raised by the Feasibility Study.

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