Conference: Association of Human Rights Institutes 2022
Conference: Association of Human Rights Institutes 2022 (#AHRI2022)
Pretoria, South Africa
2-3 September 2022
Technological developments have made what was once science fiction reality. This gives some hope for a utopian future while others get nightmares. It also highlights the extent to which technologies that are not explicitly designed with human rights and equity in mind have tremendous potential to do harm.
In most societies companies monitor and monetize our activities online for profit and governments have tremendous capacity to monitor us both online and in the physical world. They generally do so in the name of public safety, but often with the goal of silencing dissenting voices and preventing people from organizing for structural changes within the economy and society.
COVID-19 has led to misery around the globe but also illustrates how technological developments can make a difference, most significantly through the rapid developments of vaccines. However, there are serious inequities in making the fruits of technological developments such as vaccines globally available. COVID-19 has been not only a medical pandemic but also an inequality pandemic. The climate crisis also highlights global inequalities which equitable access to technological developments could potentially mitigate.
Accountability and public participation are central to the human rights project. Technological developments such as artificial intelligence has the potential to make justice systems more efficient, but human control remains essential. Technological advances are frequently used in elections and other forms of political participation but have often been challenged.
Join us for the first conference of the Association of Human Rights Institute (AHRI) held outside Europe to ponder these questions.