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Artificial intelligence and human rights: risks, opportunities and regulation
Interdisciplinary research project funded by the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic (2021-2023) No. TL05000484
The relationship between AI and human rights is, for now, double-edged. AI brings great benefits to all sectors of society and strengthens progress, social well-being and economic competitiveness. At the same time, however, it poses risks to a variety of human rights and fundamental freedoms, be it due to the intrinsic technological processes, human input or its abusive or malicious use in practice.
The aim of the project is to identify and assess the risks and opportunities in the relationship between AI and human rights and to propose solutions how AI technologies should be developed, used and regulated in order to prevent human rights violations and support their further progress and protection.
An intedisciplinary team of international law and human rights law experts, AI and IT experts and Czech law and EU law specialists carry on the research project in the framework of the consortium of the Ambis University, AI Center of the Czech Technical University, Institute of Law and Technology of Masaryk University and prg.ai as the application garantor.
cover image generated by Midjourney, prompt: „two heads facing each other one realistic human head and one digital head (matrix style) in blue“
Principal investigator, Head of International Law team
Dr. Martina Šmuclerová is Public International Law expert specializing in international law and new technologies (space law, cyber law, artificial intelligence), law of international security, law of international organizations and human rights. She received her PhD and MA in Public International Law from the Sorbonne University, Paris, France (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne). Dr. Šmuclerová has been a Senior Lecturer at Institut d’études politiques de Paris (Sciences Po) since 2011 where she leads various courses in Public International Law. As a Research Fellow in Public International Law at Ambis University in Prague since 2020, she’s the Principal Investigator of the interdisciplinary grant research project “Artificial Intelligence and Human Rights: Risks, Opportunities and Regulation”. In 2012-2019, Dr. Šmuclerová served as International Law adviser and diplomat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic and Representative to the United Nations, EU and other international fora. She initiated and led several international law projects such as the UN Space Debris Compendium or the first CZ control review at the UN HRC Universal Periodic Review. She holds French Government Scholarships and other awards.
Head of AI team
Dr. Luboš Král received his PhD degree at Czech Technical University in Prague (CTU) in the field of Control Engineering and Robotics. He serves as Deputy Head of the Artificial Intelligence Centre at the CTU Department of Computer Science. He has worked mainly on projects linking research and development, including automation in areas like journalism, media, "mission-critical" and "life-critical" systems, and the business partnership with large producers of medical devices and telecommunication systems in the transport sector. Dr. Král focuses on interconnection of research teams and building relationship with application partners, mainly in informatics, artificial intelligence and machine learning. He is the Head of the Artificial Intelligence team in the research project “Artificial Intelligence and Human Rights: Risks, Opportunities and Regulation”.
Machine Learning expert
Dr. Jan Drchal received his PhD degree at Czech Technical University in Prague (CTU) in the field of Artificial Intelligence. His primary research focus is machine learning and he has worked on several projects applying AI methods to natural language processing, including approaches to automatic fact-checking and the development of assistive tools, transportation research, social simulations, and robotics. Dr. Drchal works as an expert on AI methodologies in the research project “Artificial Intelligence and Human Rights: Risks, Opportunities and Regulation”.
Lukáš Kačena is the managing director of prg.ai since April 2022. He graduated from the Faculty of Social Sciences at Charles University and started his career with the consulting company Ernst & Young. From 2015 to 2017, he was the Director of the Development and Programme Management Section at the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic. He was mainly responsible for the preparation of new programmes of support for applied research, development and innovation and their evaluation. Prior to joining prg.ai, he worked as an independent consultant in the field of public administration. Lukáš is co-author of the Methodology for the Preparation of Public Strategies. He is also a lecturer and trainer on these topics.
Head of prg.ai team
Lenka Kučerová joined prg.ai in the spring of 2019 and led the organization for three years. From 2022 onwards, she focuses on community development and partnerships. Lenka has been actively developing the Czech entrepreneurial environment since 2010, when she founded the CzechAccelerator program at CzechInvest. She ran two Prague-based startup accelerators StartupYard and Wayra CEE and in 2015 co-founded the StarLift Foundation, which aims to develop entrepreneurship of promising developers from Czechia and Slovakia. At the startup studio CEAi she was responsible for community development, marketing, internal training and corporate culture.
Head of MUNI Law team
Jakub Míšek, Ph.D. is an assistant professor at the Institute of Law and Technology at the Faculty of Law, Masaryk University. His main field of study is privacy and personal data protection. He also focuses on legal regulation of public sector information and open data. He is currently a research fellow at the ISLC (Information Society Law Center) at the University of Milan. Since February 2015 Jakub has worked at the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic as a member of the Open Data project team. His main tasks are licensing Open Data, Open Data, and personal data protection and the creation of legislative proposals for Open Data in the Czech Republic. Since 2019 Jakub has been a member of the appeal commission of the Office for Personal Data Protection.
Jaroslav Sip is Research Developer at the Artificial Intelligence Center of the Czech Technical University in Prague. Jaroslav graduated in Cultural Anthropology and International Territorial Studies. Since 2003, he has been engaged in ESIF programming, IPR and technology transfer. Jaroslav served in the Regional R&D&I Council of the Pilsen region and was involved in S3/RIS3 programming. He is a member of Association of the University Transfer Managers (AUTM) and of the NCURA Select Committee on Global Affairs, and in 2019-2021 he served on EARMA External Relationships Committee. In the research project "Artificial Intelligence and Human Rights: Risks, Opportunities and Regulations" Jaroslav is responsible for analysis of the data on AI technologies’ human rights aspects.
Professor of International Law
Jan Ondřej is Professor of International Law at the Charles University Law School in Prague and at AMBIS University, where he teaches Business Law and Introduction to Law. Professor Ondřej is the author of a textbook International Public, Private and Trade Law (2014) and has published extensively on the topic of international spaces (space law, law of the sea, Antarctica), e.g. The Law of Sea Areas (2017) or The Law of International Spaces (2004), and on disarmament and international security, e.g. Selected Questions of the Law of International Security and Disarmament (2021) and Disarmament – Means of Ensuring the International Security (2008). He also co-authored a publication International Humanitarian Law (2010), a textbook Introduction to Public International law (2018) or publication The Commencement of Business (2022).
Veronika Příbaň Žolnerčíková
Veronika Příbaň Žolnerčíková is an expert in ICT law, a research fellow at the Faculty of Law of Masaryk University and a research fellow at the Institute of State and Law of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. She is currently a PhD candidate at the Institute of Law and Technology, Faculty of Law, Masaryk University. Her research topic are legal aspects of artificial intelligence. She has also focused on the law of new technologies in her previous position at the Legislative Department of the Ministry of Justice and in a law firm. Veronika occasionally contributes to the teaching at Masaryk University and other universities.
Jakub Harašta, PhD is an assistant professor at the Institute of Law and Technology (Masaryk University, Faculty of Law). Jakub holds a Master's degree in Law and Legal Science (2013) and Political Science (specialised in Security and Strategic Studies, 2020), an Advanced Master's degree in Law and Legal Science (specialised in Law of Information and Communication Technologies, 2015), and PhD in Theoretical Legal Science (specialised in Law of Information and Communication Technologies, 2018). In addition, he held the position of Visiting Research Fellow at the Minerva Center for the Rule of Law under Extreme Conditions (2015) and Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Center for Cyber, Law and Policy (2018) at the University of Haifa. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the Masaryk University Journal of Law and Technology. His main professional interests are legal informatics and cybersecurity.
Monika Hanych, PhD. LL.M., works at the Office of the Czech Government Agent before the European Court of Human Rights. Monika is a Czech representative to the Committee on Artificial Intelligence and Human Rights of the Council of Europe. Monika graduated at law, media and sociology at Masaryk University (Czech Republic) and human rights at Tilburg University (Netherlands).
Prevention of human rights violation:
To assure the effective implementation of human rights norms in the AI domain, it is first necessary to identify the root causes of the human rights violations within the AI life cycle in order to formulate a remedy.
- The root causes can reside in all phases of the AI life cycle, starting with the incomplete input data, passing by a biased transfer learning, up to a malicious application.
- The corresponding remedies can be diverse: problems might be solved via e.g. a technical adjustment of the machine learning procedure, rules on the processing of data, or a more robust legal interference restricting or banning the development and use of certain AI technologies.
A comprehensive approach linking international human rights and AI expertise is thus indispensable in order to provide a holistic and solution-oriented viewpoint.
Phase: June 2021 – September 2022; formulation of recommendations for the government and actors of the AI life cycle (October 2022 – March 2023)
Support for human rights protection:
Current shortcomings in human rights protection may be diminished by the automatisation of the respective human acitivities.
Sector-based analysis is in progress (since November 2022).
- justice, detention, discrimination, freedom of expression, disappearances, refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, police violence, child rights, disability rights, rights of older people, climate change, indigenous peoples, right to dignity, sexual reproductive rights
Phase: November 2022 – May 2023
Current Research Results
Identification of the root causes of human rights violation throughout the whole AI life cycle and formulation of the remedy
ŠMUCLEROVÁ, M., KRÁL, L., DRCHAL, J., AI life cycle and human rights: risks and remedies in TEMPERMAN J. and QUINTAVALLA A. (eds.): Artificial Intelligence and Human Rights, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2023
Non-biased AI as utopia?: The challenge to produce a non-discriminatory AI technology
Presentation by Martina ŠMUCLEROVÁ of research results on the biased AI (prohibition of discrimination) at the International Law and Technological Progress Conference 2022 on 23 June 2022 in Aberdeen, UK (to be published by Elgard Publ. in International Law and Technology series 2023)
Report on the risks of human rights violations by AI technologies and remedies
Research report (September 2022, in Czech) submitted to the Government of the Czech Republic and relevant actors of AI life cycle (public-private sphere)
- Technology Agency of the Czech Republic: Homepage – Technologická agentura ČR (tacr.cz)
- Special Envoy for the Representation of the Czech Republic at the European Court of Human Rights Kancelář vládního zmocněnce – Portál justice , Zastupování ČR před ESLP – Portál justice
- The Capital City of Prague Portál hlavního města Prahy (praha.eu)
- Government of the Czech Republic, The Section for European Affairs European Affairs | Government of the Czech Republic (vlada.cz)
- Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic (spcr.cz)
- Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence at Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam Digital Governance (DIGOV) | Erasmus School of Law | Erasmus University Rotterdam (eur.nl)
- International Law and Technological Progress Conference 2022, The University of Aberdeen School of Law International Law and Technological Progress Conference 2022 | What’s On | The University of Aberdeen (abdn.ac.uk) , School of Law | The University of Aberdeen (abdn.ac.uk)