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Major Sydney Event Explores Human Rights And Technology

17 July 2018 at 7:30 am
How do we protect our human rights when technology is changing the way we live at an unprecedented pace?

Contributor | 17 July 2018 at 7:30 am


Major Sydney Event Explores Human Rights And Technology
17 July 2018 at 7:30 am

How do we protect our human rights when technology is changing the way we live at an unprecedented pace?

Driverless cars choosing who to save in a crash, big data targeting democratic systems, personal information being leaked by hackers.

The Australian Human Rights Commission will be tackling the human rights implications of emerging technology with local and international leaders in industry, government and academia at a landmark event in Sydney on 24 July.

The international Human Rights and Technology Conference will also launch a major commission project that will give Australian governments a framework to protect our rights and freedoms in the digital age.

Human Rights Commissioner Edward Santow, who is leading the project, said the challenge was to protect against threats to our existing rights and freedoms, while encouraging innovations that enhance them.

“Artificial intelligence has given us robotic limbs that can feel and wheelchairs that are operated with thoughts. Yet at the same time we are seeing unprecedented threats to our privacy and democratic systems with the rise of big data,” Santow said.

“This project is about ensuring the technology is driven by human values, not the other way around. Too often we are playing catch up with our human rights but we do have an opportunity to get this right.”

Vice president and deputy general counsel at Microsoft Corporation, Steve Crown, and Aza Raskin, the former Mozilla head of user experience now co-founder of the US Center for Humane Technology, will be among the experts presenting at the conference.

Other speakers include Chief Scientist of Australia, Dr Alan Finkel AO, ABC managing director, Michelle Guthrie, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy, Professor Joe Cannataci, Salesforce research architect Kathy Baxter and Google Asia Pacific head of content and AI Jake Lucchi.

The Human Rights and Technology Issues Paper will be released at the conference, which marks the beginning of a broad consultation with industry, academic experts, civil society and government.

Informed by all of those sectors, the commission’s final report and recommendations will be released in late 2019.

“With growing community awareness of technology’s potential for harm, our challenge is to build a future that Australians want and need, rather than one we fear,” Santow said.

The Human Rights and Technology conference will take place on 24 July 2018, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney.

Tickets and more information about the project and the conference is available at

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