Belfast Smart City Talk

29 November 2021

Human rights in the digital world will be a key focus for Liberal Arts students at St Mary’s University College over the coming weeks. This topic is led by College lecturer, Dr Birgit Schippers, who specialises in human rights and new technologies.

The local dimension of the digital revolution, and its impact on the rights of individuals and communities, are at the heart of this theme. The challenges and opportunities of connected technologies in urban spaces is the topic of the opening lecture, which will be delivered by our invited guest speaker, Andrea Thornbury, the Project Manager at the City Innovation Team of Belfast City Council.

Students will also discuss the human rights dimensions of biometric technologies, such as facial recognition and emotion recognition and will study the problem of online harms and fake news generated on digital platforms.

As Dr Schippers states:

“Students and staff live, work, study and play with computational technologies. As someone who researches the future of human rights, I worry about the rapid expansion of digital technologies across all areas of our lives. How we can protect human rights in an environment increasingly shaped by artificial intelligence, algorithmic decision-making and robotics should concern us all.”

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