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This annual series of in-person talks and Q&A, followed by drinks and discussion, the seminars (except in March) take place at IALS, Charles Clore House, 17 Russell Sq, London WC1B 5DR.

"Can Artifical Intelligence (AI) be Used for Good for Refugees Caught up in the Humanitarian Crises, and in their Resolution?"

Professor Geoff Gilbert - Human Rights Centre, University of Essex

Emerging tech is increasingly viewed as giving rise to concerns when used with respect to forcibly displaced persons. Facial recognition technology at borders does not lend itself to opting out. Is the data collected, even for the most appropriate reasons, going to be stored securely, and with whom will it be shared? And, if shared, will the data subject have any say in that? On the other hand, the use of technology is often insisted upon by donors in the interest of ‘efficiency’.

That said, technology can facilitate decision-making, either because AI can process more data than any human could manage in the time, or because it gives access to information sources that would not otherwise be possible. It can enhance protection and even prevention on occasions. And as resolution approaches to the conflict or political disruption in the country of nationality, can technology be utilised to give a voice to the forcibly displaced through political participation as the country transitions back to stability and peace? This presentation will consider the problems that emerging tech presents and the potential benefits it could offer, but it will also address some of the underpinning structures that allow tech to work in the first place and how far they can ever be unproblematic in the context of a humanitarian crisis. And if AI can be good, good for whom?”

Geoff Gilbert is Professor of Law in the School of Law and Human Rights Centre at the University of Essex. He was Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Refugee Law from 2002-15 and is co-Editor-in-Chief as of September 2019; he also sits on the Advisory Board. In July 2020, he was appointed Inaugural Chair of the Global Academic Interdisciplinary Network that had been launched at the first Global Refugee Forum in December 2019 as part of Global Compact on Refugees (2018). He has worked with UNHCR on a series of research projects and training programmes for over 25 years.