Can Human Rights Survive Inequality in the Digital Age?


Bio: Amos Toh is a senior researcher on artificial intelligence and human rights at Human Rights Watch. Before joining HRW, Amos served as legal advisor to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression and was a clinical teaching fellow at the University of California (Irvine) School of Law. Between 2012 and 2015, Amos was Counsel and Katz Fellow at the Brennan Center of Justice. Amos is a graduate of New York University School of Law and the National University of Singapore School of Law.

This keynote will provide an overview of Human Rights Watch research on the role of algorithmic decision making in reinforcing and amplifying the conditions of poverty and inequality. Our research spans two distinct; but intersecting areas: 1) the automation of welfare administration and provision; and 2) the algorithmic management of the app-based “gig” economy. Drawing on case studies in the United Kingdom and the United States; this keynote will explore patterns of algorithmic decision making that evade traditional modes of public scrutiny and accountability; while reinforcing lopsided power dynamics between the state and the beneficiary; and employer and worker. This keynote will also explore how traditional modes of human rights factfinding should evolve to document the role of technology in violations of socio-economic rights; and how it interacts with systemic conditions (such as the degradation of the social safety net and the wealth gap) to enable these violations. 

Watch the video of this keynote speech.