International human rights law seeks to protect the dignity of all people. As a liberal democracy, Australia should place human rights at the centre of its approach to technology: promoting fairness, equality and accountability in the use and development of new tech.
Human rights provide the foundation for the Commission’s recommendations for law and other reform throughout the Report.
The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet is leading a process, on behalf of the Australian Government, to create the Digital Economy Strategy (previously the Digital Australia Strategy). This presents an excellent opportunity to articulate the key, big-picture elements of how Australia will respond to the rise of new and emerging technologies, such as AI.
The Commission urges the Australian Government to embrace technological innovation that holds true to our liberal democratic values. This means putting human rights at the centre of how Australia approaches new and emerging technologies.
The Commission recommends that the Digital Economy Strategy promote responsible innovation and human rights through measures including regulation, investment and education. This will help foster a firm foundation of public trust in new and emerging technologies that are used in Australia.
Source: UQ & KPMG, Trust in Artificial Intelligence, 2020
- Australia should promote responsible innovation of new and emerging technologies.
- A National Strategy will help Australia harness the benefits of new technology, and address the risks.
- Human rights protections will help ensure public trust in new technology.
Recommendation 1: National strategy
The Digital Economy Strategy (previously called the Digital Australia Strategy), which is currently being developed by the Australian Government Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, should set Australia’s national strategy for new and emerging technologies. The Digital Economy Strategy should promote responsible innovation through:
- effective regulation—including law, co-regulation and self-regulation—that upholds human rights in the development and use of new technologies
- the development of a community-wide action plan on education, training and capacity building regarding the human rights implications of new and emerging technologies
- funding and investment for responsible innovation that complies with human rights
- practical measures to achieve the Strategy’s aims, including through the establishment of an AI Safety Commissioner (see Recommendation 22).
Australians want AI to be used for good to address
Source: Monash University, AI for social good? 2020
Source: Essential Research Report for the Australian Human Rights Commission, 2020