Last year, the Council of Europe launched international negotiations for a new treaty on artificial intelligence, human rights, democracy and the rule of law. The purpose of the treaty is to address potential harms and other risks from the design, development and use of AI.
They've circulated a draft that sets out rights, obligations and principles to ensure the design, development and use of AI systems respects human rights, democracy and the rule of law. The treaty may be complemented by other binding or nonbinding instruments, such as sectoral tools or a methodology to support the identification, assessment and mitigation of risk.
Once concluded, this treaty could be the first international convention on the regulation of AI and the first legally binding international instrument on AI and human rights. So, no small thing, right?
The Canadian government has been invited as an observer, is participating in the negotiation of the treaty and may very well be a signatory when all is said and done. To this end, they have asked for feedback from stakeholders to support Canada's participation in treaty negotiations.
Participating in the negotiations gives Canada an opportunity to help shape the treaty to ensure it reflects Canadian interests and values. It also affords an opportunity to influence the treaty, so it aligns with Canadian objectives on AI in the context of its impact on human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
Everyone's thinking about AI these days. So if you're interested in having your say, there's an online survey where you can share some concrete and hopefully helpful input.
They're asking a handful of questions. They want to know, for example, if there are any risks not reflected in the draft. They want to know if people feel the draft treaty is compatible with Canadian interests and values, and whether Canada should advocate for any other values, principles or perspectives. They also want to know if any rights, principles or perspectives are missing or not effectively addressed, as well as if any elements raise red flags.
It's often difficult to know whether, in this kind of exercise, it is worth taking the time. Will your voice be truly heard? But I'm an optimist, so I think it's a good thing to be asked for input on such an important, far-reaching topic that's only growing in importance.
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