2024 Symposium

Friday, Feb 23, 2024
In-Person and Virtual
UCLA Law, Room 1347

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to transform life as we know it, and yet is being advanced at almost incomprehensible speeds and used by corporations and governments who brazenly disregard its potential impact, flout attempts at sufficient regulation, and show no signs of meaningfully guarding or guiding its impact.

Harms are not just theoretical. AI has already been used in facilitating mass surveillance as well as perpetuating bias in the criminal justice system, healthcare, education, job market, access to housing, and access to banking, thereby exacerbating discrimination against already marginalized groups and doing so in ways that can be all but imperceptible to the average person. 

AI is also proving startlingly corrosive on democracies including through facilitating the spread of disinformation, the creation of deep-fakes and synthetic media to sow chaos and confusion, and the removal of content documenting human rights abuses.

Like all tools, AI also has the potential to benefit human rights, from facilitating advances in healthcare to tracking supply chain compliance. But because human rights are indivisible and interdependent, AI can reasonably be framed as poised to affect nearly every recognized human right, including the rights to freedom of expression, thought, assembly, association, and movement; the right to privacy and data protection; the rights to health, education, work, and an adequate standard of living; and non-discrimination and equality. And that’s just the list at the time of writing.

Under international law, both governments and corporations are required to respect human rights. The international human rights regime provides an ecosystem of institutions and organizations at the domestic, regional, and international levels with established frameworks to seek respect for human rights as well as remedies for human rights violations. However, human rights have largely been left out of the conversation around the development and implementation of AI. They must become a central feature of this development so that our inherent rights are protected in this next phase of the digital age. 

This symposium will convene scholars, practitioners, activists, and lawmakers to explore the many ways in which AI is negatively impacting and positively influencing the fulfillment of the entire spectrum of human rights and will highlight the ways in which different regulatory bodies are and should be seeking to impose safeguards or limits on the development and implementation of AI, and how tech companies are already being held accountable for the irresponsible deployment of AI. 

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Confirmed Speakers:

  • Natasha Amlani
    • Associate, Perkins Coie
  • Timnit Gebru
    • Founder & Executive Director, Distributed AI Research Institute
  • Rebecca Hamilton
    • Professor of Law, American University, Washington College of Law
  • Michael Karanicolas
    • Executive Director, UCLA Institute for Technology, Law & Policy
  • Alexa Koenig
    • Co-Faculty Director, Human Rights Center, UC Berkeley
  • Christian A. Kurpiewski
    • Counsel, Senate Committee on Judiciary, California State Senate
  • Matt Mahmoudi
    • Researcher, Amnesty International 
  • Yvonne McDermott Rees
    • Professor of Law, Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law, Swansea University 
  • S. Priya Morley
    • Director, International Human Rights Clinic at UCLA School of Law; Racial Justice Policy Counsel, The Promise Institute for Human Rights at UCLA School of Law
  • Safiya Noble
    • David O. Sears Presidential Endowed Chair of Social Sciences and Professor of Gender Studies, African American Studies, and Information Studies, UCLA, MacArthur Foundation Fellow

  • Jess Peake
    • Director, International and Comparative Law Program at UCLA School of Law; Assistant Director, The Promise Institute for Human Rights at UCLA School of Law
  • Allison Peters
    • Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, U.S. Department of State 
  • Marietje Schaake
    • United Nations AI Advisory Body; International Policy Director, Stanford Cyber Policy Center 
  • Sarah Shirazyan
    • Content Policy Manager, Meta Trust & Safety; Lecturer in Law, Stanford Law School 
  • Shannon Raj Singh
    • Principal & Founder, Athena Tech & Atrocities Advisory; former Human Rights Counsel, Twitter 
  • Pedro Vaca
    • Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
  • Raquel Vazquez Llorente
    • Head of Law & Policy, Technology Threats & Opportunities, WITNESS 
  • Marlena Wisniak
    • Senior Legal Manager, European Center for Not-for-Profit Law

– Program –

Registration & Light Refreshments
9:00-9:30am

*All times Pacific

Opening Remarks
9:30 – 9:45am

  • Michael Waterstone, Dean, UCLA School of Law  
  • Hannah R. Garry, Executive Director, the Promise Institute for Human Rights at UCLA School of Law 
  • Jess Peake, Director, International and Comparative Law Program at UCLA School of Law; Assistant Director, The Promise Institute for Human Rights at UCLA School of Law

Panel one

AI’s Impact on Human Rights 
9:45 – 11:15am

AI is infiltrating almost every aspect of what it means to be human. Through its ability to identify, classify, and discriminate, it has the potential to impact almost all our human rights. 

Whether through the mass deployment of facial recognition to surveille already marginalized populations or discriminate at international borders; manipulation of aggregated online information to block access to housing or finance; or use of geolocation data to track and penalize those involved in protesting governmental oppression, the potential harms caused by AI are significant, with very few mechanisms for redress.

In this panel, experts will discuss the implementation of AI in a variety of contexts with respect to situations around curtailment of freedom of expression and freedom of movement around the world to highlight current and future challenges posed by the increased use of AI. Our panelists will also discuss what benefits to human rights we could see through AI, if implemented in a rights-compliant way. 

Panelists

  • Matt Mahmoudi, Researcher, Amnesty International 
  • Allison Peters, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, U.S. Department of State 
  • Sarah Shirazyan, Content Policy Manager, Meta Trust & Safety; Lecturer in Law, Stanford Law School 
  • Pedro Vaca, Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights 

Moderator

  • S. Priya Morley, Director, International Human Rights Clinic at UCLA School of Law; Racial Justice Policy Counsel, The Promise Institute for Human Rights at UCLA School of Law

Coffee Break
11:15 – 11:45am

panel two

AI’s Impact on Democracy and Accountability 
11:45am – 1:15pm

The internet was supposed to be a democratizing force, and in many ways it has been. People have access to information at their fingertips and can organize and find support from around the world. They can post videos and content of harm committed against them and raise their collective voices in resisting oppression.

However, the information available to us is not static, and information promoted  is not always true and correct. We have seen the impact of algorithmic decision-making in amplifying content that leads to the violent challenging of elections in the United States and Brazil, and algorithms have made the cause and spread of COVID-19 and climate change disputed facts.

The rapid development of AI portends a deeply concerning future for democracy and accountability. Social media companies use AI to make decisions about what violates their terms of service and when content is removed, evidence of human rights violations and war crimes becomes unavailable impacting opportunities to hold perpetrators accountable. Deepfakes and synthetic media have the potential to sow chaos and confusion in an already confused environment. 

During this panel discussion, experts will discuss the potentials and perils of AI in the democracy and accountability spaces. 

Panelists

Moderator

  • Jess Peake, Director, International and Comparative Law Program at UCLA School of Law; Assistant Director, The Promise Institute for Human Rights at UCLA School of Law  

Boxed Lunch
1:15 – 2:00pm

panel three

The Role of Human Rights in AI Regulation
2:00 – 3:30pm 

In ongoing debates among and between governments and big tech companies, human rights have been subsumed under the labels of “AI Ethics” or “Responsible AI.” The language of human rights has been largely left out of the conversation around regulating the development and implementation of AI.

Human rights offers a rich and well-established framework for thinking about the dangers and potential posed by AI, how AI creators can mitigate the risks, and mechanisms for review and remediation when harm is caused. There have been several recent developments in the EU, the UN has established an AI Advisory Board, and President Biden has established a US Taskforce on AI. However, these conversations are largely taking place in the halls of power of the Global North, to the exclusion of the Global South who are bearing the brunt of AI discrimination.

This panel will explore how and why human rights should be centered in this conversation, and why it is vital to ensure that the Global South is involved in decision making. 

Panelists

  • Rebecca Hamilton, Professor of Law, American University, Washington College of Law 
  • Christian A. Kurpiewski, Counsel, Senate Committee on Judiciary, California State Senate
  • Marietje Schaake, United Nations Advisory Body; Stanford Cyber Policy Center 
  • Marlena Wisniak, Senior Legal Manager, European Center for Not-for-Profit Law 

Moderator

Coffee Break
3:30 – 4:00pm

Keynote Conversation
4:00 – 4:45pm

  • Timnit Gebru
    • Founder & Executive Director, Distributed AI Research Institute
  • Safiya Noble
    • David O. Sears Presidential Endowed Chair of Social Sciences and Professor of Gender Studies, African American Studies, and Information Studies, UCLA, MacArthur Foundation Fellow

Reception
4:45 – 6:00pm

With Thanks to Our Co-Sponsors:

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