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  • Human Rights Research Center

Civil Rights Group to Investigate Artificial Intelligence's Role in Racism and Hate Speech

September 8, 2023

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Cited article by Russell Contreras, Axios

HRRC joins Axios in calling for transparency in AI data sets and algorithms. As such, HRRC emphasizes the need to monitor AI for hate speech and other forms of bigotry and racism.

News Brief

The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights (LCCHR) is launching the Center for Civil Rights and Technology to investigate the impact of artificial intelligence on civil rights, racism, and bigotry. This initiative addresses concerns that AI may exacerbate racism and antisemitism in the U.S. by amplifying biases from human-generated internet content. The center's objectives include monitoring AI-related legislation and regulations, assessing their implications for civil and human rights, publishing research papers and policy positions, and facilitating discussions on generative AI. An advisory group of experts and civil rights organizations will provide guidance to the center.

AI models, such as OpenAI's ChatGPT and Google's Bard, learn from vast amounts of text data created by people online, potentially inheriting biases from the digital environment and society. While some tech companies like OpenAI, Google, and Microsoft aim to mitigate extreme forms of racism, sexism, and homophobia, others are looking to create AI systems with fewer limits. Civil rights organizations like the Anti-Defamation League are concerned about AI's potential to generate hate and disinformation. They call for transparency in AI data sets and algorithms. LCCHR's president and CEO, Maya Wiley, pointed out that AI tools can inadvertently perpetuate inequalities when not properly trained on systemic disparities, citing an example of an algorithm that favored white, wealthy patients for hospitalization. The center also aims to showcase positive applications of AI in understanding civil rights, such as its use in museums addressing racial violence and antisemitism. Alondra Nelson, who served in President Biden's Office of Science and Technology Policy, will advise the center, which will operate under LCCHR's umbrella.


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