Artificial Intelligence. Media and Information Literacy, Human Rights and Freedom of Expression

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Igor Shnurenko Tatiana Murovana Ibrahim Kushchu

«Artificial Intelligence. Media and Information Literacy, Human Rights and Freedom of Expression»

AI: Media and Information Literacy, Human Rights and Freedom of Expression

This publication is available in Open Access under the Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 IGO (CC-BY-SA 3.0 IGO) license ( By using the content of this publication, the users accept to be bound by the terms of use of the UNESCO Open Access Repository ( terms-use-ccbysa-en)

The relationship between media and information literacy (MIL) and human rights (HR), especially, the right to access information, education, and freedom of expression (FoE) is undeniably strong. MIL, supported by the right to education, is an essential requirement for citizens to be able to access, understand, analyze, create and express media content as well as to be able to improve on the realization of their relevant human rights. So, MIL would be dry and naked without the envelope of human rights perspective.

Digital tools and platforms have taken MIL further from being unidimensional to be interactive and dynamic. Various (digital) media, citizens, content producers, regulators (i.e. governments), and other stakeholders now operate in a dynamic MIL ecosystem, which is continuously changing and evolving. Without any doubt, in recent years, artificial intelligence (AI) with its supporting technologies, such as the cloud, big data, Internet of things (IoT), and (mobile) connectivity, are all having a disruptive influence on this ecosystem. The successes of MIL e orts largely rely on the successes in understanding AI and its adoption.

The book in your hand, to serve this purpose, presents an exploration of dynamic relationships among AI and relevant emerging technologies, MIL, human rights, and freedom of expression. This dynamic relationship is explored from perspectives of three major areas of concern in MIL

• Passive MIL: accessing, using, and adopting media and information,
• Active MIL: creating, disseminating, analyzing, evaluating, interacting

with and influencing media and information, and
• Influential MIL: realizing and practicing media and information rights.

The first part of the book creates the technical basis for AI and relevant emerging technologies as they relate to MIL and human rights. First, the strength of AI stemming from new technologies such as big data, the IoT, and all forms of connectivity is presented. In this way, the power and the limits of such power are established as they relate to the above three areas of MIL.


Artificial Intelligence. Media and Information Literacy, Human Rights and Freedom of Expression

While most of the AI techniques have not really been advancing drastically since their birth, the significant developments in emerging relevant technologies are revolutionizing the AI systems. But this revolution is limited with narrow AI where bounded domain-specific problems are solved really well. Still, AI plays a disruptive role in extending and augmenting the capabilities of citizens and other stakeholders of the MIL ecosystem. Regardless of who the stakeholder or the actor is, passive, active and influential MIL is enhanced by the use of AI in various digital and media platforms and environments.

The second part of the book is a discussion exploring the ways in which AI may contribute or hinder the development of MIL competencies. This part starts with presenting a brief on the views, efforts, and position of UNESCO on MIL. This brief contains a dateline of activities in making MIL a widely recognized essential line of activity as well as in developing MIL by closely following the changing digital environments. Then the role and significance of MIL in social and economical context are presented from a modernized point of view. According to this point of view, there is increasing complexity and uncertainty in developing MIL competencies, which may require a special set of tools, approaches, and practices. Also important are the mind-blowing changes in digital media environments, which bring about impositions to MIL to discover new ways of learning, using, and adopting competencies as they relate to information creation, access, and utilization. Next, the issues around what is and what is not ‘true’ in media are discussed in terms of their vagueness and departure from reality. These discussions are important for developing approaches to how digital technologies, especially AI, may create challenges for and may support MIL e orts in empowering citizens. Digital technologies with AI have a significant impact on MIL and its future development both in terms of negatives and positives. They change the media environment and consequently the experiences of people in these environments. While media and content become conveniently accessible and usable by professionals (i.e. Journalists) and ordinary citizens, nature and most importantly, the quality of experiences change drastically. While AI and digital tools may help with faster, precise, and more directed media use and delivery of content, it is not very clear how the users are bene ting from these advances. A greater complexity arises when the powers and intentions of data holders to serve pro t making machines are recognized. This part closes with detailed discussions on how these issues come about as challenges and what may be the opportunities to empower people via MIL using new technologies.


Artificial Intelligence. Media and Information Literacy, Human Rights and Freedom of Expression

The third part of the book explores in great detail how AI influences human rights and freedom of expression. It has three chapters:

  • the first one deals with extensive discussion of the AI in the context of human rights and freedom of speech; what kind of AI functions and techniques are being used in generating, distributing, and using the information online and how this relates to human rights; and what the future trends look like in this area. More specifically, after providing a context for AI in human rights, the chapter goes through various tools and techniques of AI as they relate to human rights and freedom of expression. For example, positive and negative impacts of personalization, e orts in machine understanding of human emotions, content moderation, especially, in social media, surveillance, propaganda and disinformation, fake news, and deep fakes are all presented here. Also presented are some of the ethical concerns related to privacy and use of personal data, bias, information equality and discrimination caused by data and AI systems, and creating responsible AI with appropriate justifications. Finally, the chapter ends with a discussion of some of the positive and negative approaches that AI can help with improving human rights. On the positive side, AI can help with reducing discrimination, bias, improving focussed delivery and equality in access to information, and finding ways to improve social life. But AI may also imply that human rights and free will may be in significant danger and new approaches to designing human rights and education for MIL may be needed.
  • the second chapter in this part deals with the need for regulating AI at local, national, and also global levels. In this respect, some of the regulatory e orts in the EU, USA, and China are evaluated. It is argued that some of the important topics for regulations are directly related to the prevention of potential risks that may arise from the fast and widening spread of AI systems. As explained in this chapter, such risks range from being part of AI developmental processes to existential or unintended consequences.
  • the third chapter of this part presents possible responses to human challenges posed by AI. These responses may be in terms of legislation and policies. One major concern is that the intentions and interests of governments and large tech companies may not be in agreement and this may require strong regulatory and legislative actions. Other concerns include issues related to creating human entered AI systems with human oversight while keeping the progress of AI beneficial and safe for humanity.


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