New UN Resolution on AI Might Silence Conservatives

By | March 28, 2024

NEW YORK, March 29 (C-Fam) The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on Artificial Intelligence (AI) that could have serious implications for freedom of speech.

Progressive UN member states proposed an AI resolution that gives policymakers the leverage to mandate that AI systems operate “ethically” and “fairly” in the name of “human rights”. Such provisions could be used to stifle conservative viewpoints on abortion and human sexuality, among other topics.

The resolution, proposed by the U.S., calls on governments to get involved in all levels of design, development, and implementation of AI technology to eliminate the risk of “improper or malicious design development” of AI systems that could hinder the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The agenda features a commitment to widespread access to “sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights”, a euphemism used to promote abortion services. Designing AI systems that promote the 2030 Agenda would systematically favor content that promotes the pro-abortion narrative to the detriment of pro-life speech.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. Ambassador to the UN, introduced the text before the General Assembly and said, “No government or other actor should use AI to undermine peace or repress human rights and that even the most well-intentioned people need help catching and rooting out vulnerabilities and bias.”

This comes at a time when the Biden Administration is ramping up efforts to combat “anti-rights” groups, an ambiguous term often used to refer to pro-life, socially conservative organizations.

In the past two decades, the UN system has sought to expand the original understanding of the UN Declaration of Human Rights and include rights that are at odds with the deeply held moral and religious beliefs of many people around the world. Major UN Agencies such as UN Women and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) often regard any criticism of abortion as an opposition to gender equality and human rights. As Thomas-Greenfield admitted, the resolution is supposed to amplify the work of UN entities and ensure that the AI systems align with their understanding of human rights.

Designing AI systems that promote the 2030 Agenda and UN agencies’ take on human rights could also result in the mass silencing of traditional views on human sexuality and gender norms and create the false impression that the progressive view is the only legitimate perspective.

At a recent UN event on technology-facilitated gender-based violence, a spokesman for the UNFPA said that we need to “dismantle harmful social norms to challenge stereotypes and harmful norms.” Such phrasing is a direct reference to online social conservative speech and content.

According to UN Women, those who say gender is binary or that marriage should only be between a man or a woman, are not only promoting harmful social norms but engaging in acts of gender-based violence. Efforts to combat traditional social norms are gaining traction around the world. In Mexico, Rodrigo Ivan Cortes, former congressman and pro-life leader was prosecuted for “misgendering” his fellow congressional representative.

The resolution also calls for multi-stakeholder collaboration on AI development and asks “the private sector, civil society, international and regional organizations, academia and research institutions and technical communities…to continue to work together.” However, oftentimes, these multi-stakeholder partnerships function as echo chambers where individuals may hold differing perspectives on technical matters yet share a steadfast commitment to the progressive view