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Ethical questions on AI under discussion in Helsinki

Ministry of Justice
Publication date 20.2.2019 14.22
Press release

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice in cooperation with the Council of Europe are organising a high-level expert conference on the impacts of artificial intelligence on human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. The conference will be held in Helsinki on 26-27 February 2019. The conference, which will take place at the Finlandia Hall, is part of Finland’s Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

The conference will address the following questions: What are the impacts of artificial intelligence on human rights, democracy and the rule of law? Do the existing norms provide adequate protection, or should they be modified to respond to new challenges brought on by artificial intelligence? Will the advances in AI lead to the marginalisation of certain groups such as minorities, or will discriminating algorithms present new challenges to them?

“Artificial intelligence is an extremely current and interesting topic. It affects our daily lives, and its use involves many ethical, legal and human rights issues. It is important that Finland plays an active role in resolving these issues,” says Timo Soini, Minister for Foreign Affairs.

In addition to Minister for Foreign Affairs Soini and Minister of Justice Antti Häkkänen, other prestigious speakers at the event include Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Dunja Mijatović, Commissioner for Human Rights, and Nicole Belloubet, the French Minister of Justice. Participants in the panel discussions include leading experts from multiple fields.

“The introduction of artificial intelligence raises a wide range of legal questions. It will provide a wealth of opportunities, as demonstrated by the digitalisation of tasks and working methods in the administration of justice, a project currently under way in Finland.  But when digital services are developed, special attention must be paid to ensuring the independence of the judicial system and safeguarding citizens’ legal protection,” emphasises Antti Häkkänen, Minister of Justice.

An “AI in action” exhibition will be held as part of the conference, providing an opportunity for organisations that participated in the design, development and application of artificial intelligence to showcase their projects.

This conference, co-organised with the Council of Europe, is one of the main events during Finland’s Presidency, which will continue until mid-May.

Detailed programme of the conference

Ministry for Foreign Affairs: Merja Lahtinen, Desk Officer, tel.  +358 295 350 971, [email protected]
Ministry of Justice: Jussi Mäkinen, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 50 573 2991, [email protected]

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