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

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The ICC’s Afghanistan Decision

April 16, 2019

A Pre-Trial Chamber at the International Criminal Court (ICC) has rejected the Prosecutor’s request, filed nearly 18 months ago, to open an investigation of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan, including of allegations that U.S. forces and the CIA committed acts of torture there.... Read more about The ICC’s Afghanistan Decision

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Latest Publications

Embedding Ethics in Computer Science Curriculum

Citation:

Kate Vredenburgh. 1/25/2019. “Embedding Ethics in Computer Science Curriculum.” The Harvard Gazette. See full text.
Embedding Ethics in Computer Science Curriculum

Abstract:

New article in The Harvard Gazette features work by Carr Center Technology and Human Rights Fellow Kate Vredenburgh.
 

"A module that Kate Vredenburgh, a philosophy Ph.D. student, created for a course taught by Professor Finale Doshi-Velez asks students to grapple with questions of how machine-learning models can be discriminatory, and how that discrimination can be reduced."

: Kate Vredenburgh | Jan 25 2019
: Tech Fellow Kate Vredenburgh's model explores how we can embed ethics into machine learning.
Last updated on 02/03/2020

The Quest For Inclusive & Ethical Technology

Citation:

Sabelo Mhlambi. 6/10/2019. “The Quest For Inclusive & Ethical Technology.” WUWM Milwaukee NPR. Bonnie North. See full text.
The Quest For Inclusive & Ethical Technology

Abstract:

New interview with Technology and Human Rights Fellow Sabelo Mhlambi.

"Most of us think of technology as a neutral force. Objects or processes are designed and implemented to solve problems and there are no biases, implied or overt, at work. But Sabelo Mhlambi says, not so fast. The computer scientist and researcher says technology cannot be neutral. What gets made, who makes it and uses it, and why is dependent upon our societies — and all societies are biased.

"Technology will only replicate who we are," he explains. "Our social interactions will still occur online anyway. So, there’s nothing magical about technology where it somehow brings neutrality or brings equality or equity."

https://www.wuwm.com/post/quest-inclusive-ethical-technology

: Sabelo Mhlambi | June 10 2019
: Tech Fellow Sabelo Mhlambi discusses the biases embedded into technology for Milwaukee's NPR.
Last updated on 02/03/2020

We Can't Future-Proof Technology. But Here are 5 Ways to Forward Plan.

Citation:

Alexa Koenig and Sherif Elsayed-Ali. 1/5/2019. “We Can't Future-Proof Technology. But Here are 5 Ways to Forward Plan.” World Economic Forum . See full text.
We Can't Future-Proof Technology. But Here are 5 Ways to Forward Plan.

Abstract:

New article co-authored by Carr Center Technology and Human Rights Fellow Sherif Elsayed-Ali.

"We know that the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution are drastically changing our world. This change is happening at a faster rate and greater scale than at any point in human history – and with that change come significant challenges to the ability of our public institutions and governments to adequately respond.

From the plough to vaccines to computers, technological innovations have generally made human societies more productive. Over time, people have figured out how to mitigate their negative aspects. For example, electrical applications are much safer to use now than in the early days of electrification. Though we came close to disaster, since the Second World War the international political system has managed to contain the threat of nuclear weapons for mass destruction.

However, the accelerating pace of change and the power of new technologies mean that negative unintended consequences will only become more frequent and more dangerous. What can we do today to help ensure that new technologies make life better, not worse?"

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/01/how-to-plan-for-technology-future-koenig-elsayed-ali/

: Sherif Elsayed-Ali et al. | Jan 5 2019
: With technological changes happening at a faster rate and greater scale than ever before, how can public institutions and governments keep up?
Last updated on 02/03/2020
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“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