AI, human rights, democracy and the rule of law: A primer prepared for the Council of Europe

In September 2019, the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers adopted the terms of reference for the Ad Hoc Committee on Artificial Intelligence (CAHAI).The CAHAI is charged with examining the feasibility and potential elements of a legal framework for the design, development, and deployment of AI systems that accord with Council of Europe standards across the interrelated areas of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law.

As a first and necessary step in carrying out this responsibility, the CAHAI's Feasibility Study, adopted by its plenary in December 2020, has explored options for an international legal response that fills existing gaps in legislation and tailors the use of binding and non-binding legal instruments to the specific risks and opportunities presented by AI systems.

The Study examines how the fundamental rights and freedoms that are already codified in international human rights law can be used as the basis for such a legal framework. It proposes nine principles and priorities that are fitted to the novel challenges posed by the design, development, and deployment of AI systems. When codified into law, these principles and priorities create a set of interlocking rights and obligations that will work towards ensuring that the design and use of AI technologies conform to the values of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law.

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