27 February 2023

Greetings, and welcome to this week’s newsletter.

For me, this is one of the most interesting letters in a while. The WIRED story on the use of facial recognition in Ukraine to identify dead Russian soldiers is a case on point, particularly with its focus on ‘positive’ facial recognition deployments as a means of obscuring other deployments. Some of the other issues not addressed in the article include issues to do with respect for the dead under IHL, and broader considerations arising from previously reported practices of Ukrainian soldiers contacting the deceased’s relatives, or posting to social media, to let them know that they are dead (which must engage the right to private and family life, while also bringing the concept of human dignity into play).

MIT Tech Review also looks at how AI can actually be quite helpful in disaster response. It feels like the benefits of AI are often unaddressed. I wonder how much of this is due to overstating claims as to AI’s effectiveness (leading to appropriate skepticism) but also maybe the lack of an evidence base for specific AI tools (something I’m thinking about a lot in work at the moment).

Turning to socio-economic rights, the Washington Post has a story on the use of algorithms to decide who gets laid off, something that was touched on in a previous newsletter, but this story has quite a lot of useful/interesting detail.

We also have two book announcements, in a brand new section below. If you have any suggestions for upcoming events, books, etc. please do drop us a line.

Thanks as ever to Sarah Zarmsky, and hope you all have a great week.


AI Avatar Generator Lensa Lands on Receiving End of Biometric Data Lawsuit, The Fashion Law

In Ukraine, Identifying the Dead Comes at a Human Rights Cost, WIRED

The dark side of AI: Queen Mary digital culture expert reveals how algorithms are generating hate and discrimination,Queen Mary University of London News

CYBER: Iran’s AI-Powered Surveillance State, Vice

AWS and Hugging Face expand partnership to make AI more accessible, AI News

At UNESCO, a call to regulate digital platforms in the face of online disinformation and hate, UNESCO

Robot helps students with learning disabilities stay focused, University of Waterloo News

In the Metaverse, your identity can be revealed just by moving, TechRadar

AI is starting to pick who gets laid off, The Washington Post

Who Is Liable When AI Kills?, Scientific American

So How Fair Is Your AI, Exactly?, Towards Data Science

AI image generator Midjourney blocks porn by banning words about the human reproductive system, MIT Technology Review

Report details how Big Tech is leaning on EU not to regulate general purpose AIs, Tech Crunch

Improving trust in autonomous technology, MIT Technology Review

Whistleblower Leaks Documents And Software Of Israeli Investigative Tech Company Cellebrite, Medianama

How OpenAI is trying to make ChatGPT safer and less biased, MIT Technology Review

UNESCO’s guidelines for regulating digital platforms must center human rights for everyone, everywhere, Access Now

How AI can actually be helpful in disaster response, MIT Technology Review

How Citizen is trying to remake itself by recruiting elderly Asians, MIT Technology Review

Spotify’s AI DJ Has No Soul, WIRED

How One Guy’s AI Tracked the Chinese Spy Balloon Across the US, WIRED

The Right’s New Culture-War Target: “Woke” AI, The Washington Post

How to reduce the risks from AI’s original sin, The Washington Post

Workday sued over its AI job screening tool, candidate claims discrimination, The Register

Should Algorithms Control Nuclear Launch Codes? The US Says No, WIRED

Generative AI Is Coming For the Lawyers, WIRED

The big idea: should robots take over fighting crime?, The Guardian

Big Brother Watch Responds to Sir Tony Blair and Lord Hague Calling For A New Digital ID Scheme, Big Brother Watch

Why facial recognition could spell the end of anonymity in public, The Sunday Times

Journal Articles

*Disclaimer: The selected articles and chapters were not evaluated for their research methods and do not necessarily reflect the views of the AI & Human Rights Blog

The ethical dimensions of Google autocomplete, Rosie Graham, Big Data & Society

The Matrix of Privacy: Data Infrastructure in the AI-Powered Metaverse, Leon Yehuda Anidjar, Nizan Geslevich Packin, and Argyri Panezi, available on SSRN

The right to information or data sovereignty? Sending unsolicited messages to Russians about the war in Ukraine, Yao-Tai Li and Katherine Whitworth, Big Data & Society

Social media advertising for clinical studies: Ethical and data protection implications of online targeting, Rainer Mühlhoff and Theresa Willem, Big Data & Society

Google Search and the creation of ignorance: The case of the climate crisis, Jutta Haider and Malte Rödl, Big Data & Society

Justice, trust, and moral judgements when personnel selection is supported by algorithms, Tina Feldkamp, Markus Langer, Leo Wies & Cornelius J. König, European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology 


New Technologies and Enforced Disappearances: Response to the call for input for a thematic study by the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, Privacy International


Freedom to Think: The Long Struggle to Liberate Our Minds, Susie Alegre

Economies of Virtue: The Circulation of ‘Ethics’ in AI, edited by Thao Phan, Jake Goldenfein, Declan Kuch, and Monique Mann

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