Francisca Sassetti Presents on a Human-Rights Based Approach to AI

On Thursday, March 26th from 8:30am – 10am UTC Francisca Sassetti presented “Harnessing Frontier Technologies for Sustainable Development, Towards a Human Rights-Based Approach to AI: Case Study of Apprise” for the 11th International Development Informatics Association Conference. Their presentation engaged both potential benefits and challenges of treating Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a catch-all solution for improving decision making and mitigating some human biases. Thinyane and Sassetti used international legal frameworks, including the International Bill of International Human Rights, to address the human rights impacts of the AI system. As a case study to further enrich their analyses, they assessed the human rights impacts of Apprise, a multi-lingual system for screening victims of forced labour and human trafficking. Their conclusion centered around the idea that AI systems are not neutral systems, and pre-existing inequalities and “unfreedoms” can escalate if not addressed. A balanced view of AI systems’ potential benefits is thus integral to ensuring that AI can work for – rather than against – individuals that it is intending to support. Keeping this individual mindset in mind, Thinyane and Sassetti presented a valuable lecture on a topic of urgent importance to both the fields of AI technology and anti-modern slavery worldwide. 

The conference program for “The 11th International Development Informatics Association conference” which took place from 25 – 27 March 2020 is available here:

For media enquiries, please contact:

UNU-Macau: Tarinee Youkhaw, Communications Manager

About UNU-Macau

The United Nations University Institute in Macau (UNU-Macau) is a research institute at the intersections of information and communication technology (ICT) and international development. UNU-Macau conducts UN policy-relevant research and generates solutions, addressing key issues expressed in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through high-impact innovations and frontier technologies. Through its research, UNU-Macau encourages data-driven and evidence-based actions and policies to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.