The Carr Center for Human Rights Policy serves as the hub of the Harvard Kennedy School’s research, teaching, and training in the human rights domain. The center embraces a dual mission: to educate students and the next generation of leaders from around the world in human rights policy and practice; and to convene and provide policy-relevant knowledge to international organizations, governments, policymakers, and businesses.

 

News and Announcements

See all announcements

Latest Publications

How AI Fails Us

Citation:

Divya Siddarth, Daron Acemoglu, Danielle Allen, Kate Crawford, James Evans, Michael Jordan, and E. Glen Weyl. 4/14/2022. “How AI Fails Us.” Technology and Democracy Discussion Paper Series. Publisher's Version
How AI Fails Us

Abstract:

The dominant vision of artificial intelligence imagines a future of large-scale autonomous systems outperforming humans in an increasing range of felds. This “actually existing AI” vision misconstrues intelligence as autonomous rather than social and relational. It is both unproductive and dangerous, optimizing for artificial metrics of human replication rather than for systemic augmentation, and tending to concentrate power, resources, and decision-making in an engineering elite. Alternative visions based on participating in and augmenting human creativity and cooperation have a long history and underlie many celebrated digital technologies such as personal computers and the internet. Researchers and funders should redirect focus from centralized autonomous general intelligence to a plurality of established and emerging approaches that extend cooperative and augmentative traditions as seen in successes such as Taiwan’s digital democracy project and collective intelligence platforms like Wikipedia.

Read the paper.

author/date: Divya Siddarth et al. | Apr 14 2022
teaser text: The dominant vision of artificial intelligence imagines a future of large-scale autonomous systems outperforming humans in an increasing range of fields — but this view is both unproductive and dangerous.
Last updated on 04/14/2022

Building Human Rights into Intelligent-Community Design: Beyond Procurement

Citation:

Phil Dawson, Faun Rice, and Maya Watson. 2/25/2022. “Building Human Rights into Intelligent-Community Design: Beyond Procurement.” Carr Center Discussion Paper Series. See full text.
Building Human Rights into Intelligent-Community Design: Beyond Procurement

Abstract:

Cities have emerged as test beds for digital innovation. Data-collecting devices, such as sensors and cameras, have enabled fine-grained monitoring of public services including urban transit, energy distribution, and waste management, yielding tremendous potential for improvements in efficiency and sustainability. At the same, there is a rising public awareness that without clear guidelines or sufficient safeguards, data collection and use in both public and private spaces can lead to negative impacts on a broad spectrum of human rights and freedoms. In order to productively move forward with intelligent-community projects and design them to meet their full potential in serving the public interest, a consideration of rights and risks is essential.

 

Read the paper.

author/date: Phil Dawson et al. | Feb 25 2022
teaser text: Municipalities have an opportunity to lead in responsible technology adoption by embracing thorough and innovative human rights-based approaches to intelligent-community design.

Humanitarian Digital Ethics: A Foresight and Decolonial Governance Approach

Citation:

Aarathi Krishnan. 1/20/2022. “Humanitarian Digital Ethics: A Foresight and Decolonial Governance Approach.” Carr Center Discussion Paper Series. Publisher's Version
Humanitarian Digital Ethics: A Foresight and Decolonial Governance Approach

Abstract:

Just as rights are not static, neither is harm. The humanitarian system has always been critiqued as arguably colonial and patriarchal. As these systems increasingly intersect with Western, capitalist technology systems in the race of “for good” technology, how do governance systems ethically anticipate harm, not just now but into the future? Can humanitarian governance systems design mitigation or subversion mechanisms to not lock people into future harm, future inequity, or future indebtedness because of technology design and intervention? Instead of looking at digital governance in terms of control, weaving in foresight and decolonial approaches might liberate our digital futures so that it is a space of safety and humanity for all, and through this, birth new forms of digital humanism. 

Read the paper.
author/date: Aarathi Krishnan | Jan 10 2022
teaser text: How do governance systems build a digital future that is a space of safety and humanity for all?
Last updated on 01/20/2022
See all publications

Upcoming Events

2022 Dec 01

Beyond Data: Reclaiming Human Rights at the Dawn of the Metaverse

11:00am to 12:00pm

Location: 

Virtual Event (Registration Required)

Towards Life 3.0: Ethics and Technology in the 21st Century is a talk series organized and facilitated by Dr. Mathias Risse, Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, and Berthold Beitz Professor in Human Rights, Global Affairs, and Philosophy and Sushma Raman, Executive Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. Drawing inspiration from the title of Max Tegmark’s book, Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial...

Read more about Beyond Data: Reclaiming Human Rights at the Dawn of the Metaverse

Registration: 

  • «
  • 3 of 3
  •  
See all events

 

“The Carr Center is building a bridge between ideas on human rights and the practice on the ground. Right now we are at a critical juncture. The pace of technological change and the rise of authoritarian governments are both examples of serious challenges to the flourishing of individual rights. It’s crucial that Harvard and the Kennedy School continue to be a major influence in keeping human rights ideals alive. The Carr Center is a focal point for this important task.”

 

- Mathias Risse