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Introductory Remarks: Overview of General Research Trends and Topical Focus for 2020: Researching Human Rights and Artificial Intelligence

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 March 2021

Marylin Johnson Raisch*
Affiliation:
Associate Director for Research and Collection Development at the E. B. Williams Library of Georgetown Law.

Extract

There are many current threads in human rights research today; some are extensions of more traditional concerns, and others call upon the application of human rights law as a part of international law that is evoked by recent and changing realities. There is, first, a historical turn in international law that is relevant to human rights even though it is more traditional for legal scholarship to look at such sources. Recently, Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) and discoveries about the role of the women's peace movement (as women endured and challenged the mixed messages about their roles at the time of the founding of the League of Nations) are new perspectives in that they were previously set aside, as were indigenous people's perspectives. Historian Reza Afshari and others have spoken to the focus on structural transformation and lived realities as a more political methodology for human rights, going beyond discourse and its possible Western biases. Third, environmental research has emerged in a new way, using empirical data and big data to track the impact on health and human rights; included here may be the current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are also new developments in the law of war, such as drone strikes, which take us toward automated war. The automation of human functions and judgments takes us, finally, to this panel's focus on human rights research: artificial intelligence, or AI. There may arise a theory of agency implicating those who create or operate AI outside a war context, or even within it as alleged war crimes.

Type
Contemporary Human Rights Research: Researching Human Rights and Artificial Intelligence
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The American Society of International Law.

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Footnotes

This program was sponsored by the World Justice Project and organized by the International Legal Research Interest Group.

This panel was convened at 11:30 a.m., Thursday, June 26, 2020, by its moderator Marylin Johnson Raisch of the E. B. Williams Library of Georgetown Law, who introduced the panelists: Jenny Gesley of the Law Library of Congress; and Jootaek Lee of Rutgers Law School (Newark).

References

1 Karen Knop, Diversity and Self-Determination in International Law 277–79 (2002)

2 See also Anthony Tirado Chase, Challenges Toward a Human Rights of Structural Transformation: Connecting Theory and Lived Realities, 41 Hum. Rts. Q. 185 (2019).

3 Susan Nevelow Mart, The Algorithm as a Human Artifact: Implications for Legal [Re]Search, 109 L. Lib. J. 387 (2017).

4 See, e.g., Toronto Declaration on Protecting the Right to Equality and Non-discrimination in Machine Learning Systems, at https://www.torontodeclaration.org; Safiya Noble, Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism (2018).

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