Skip to main content
Amnesty International UK
Log in

UK: Sunak's AI Summit should consider possible discriminatory impact of the technology

AI Safety Summit being held at Bletchley Park today and Thursday

Last week Rishi Sunak said UK would use AI tools to ‘clamp down’ on benefit fraud

‘The AI summit’s agenda clearly favours the interests of the tech industry’ - Damini Satija

Ahead of the UK’s AI Safety Summit later today (1 November), Damini Satija, Head of the Algorithmic Accountability Lab at Amnesty International, said:

“The UK’s Global Summit on AI safety must set the right example in the global race to regulate AI, and not be led by speculation about the ‘existential threats’ of these technologies.

“Last week Prime Minister Rishi Sunak promoted the use of AI tools to ‘clamp down on benefit fraudsters’ as a positive technological development, completely neglecting research which shows the discriminatory nature and frequent misuse of such systems.

“Where is the Government’s acknowledgement of these harms of AI and where is the attention to regulating and protecting the most marginalised communities? The AI summit’s agenda clearly favours the interests of the tech industry.

“In a previous experimentation of such tech in the UK, the Department of Work and Pensions targeted disabled individuals unfairly, subjecting them to benefits fraud investigations, pushing them into an endless bureaucratic maze.

“In 2021, Amnesty International’s research exposed the devastating consequences of a discriminatory AI system used by the Dutch Tax Authorities to detect fraudulent applications for child benefits, and its racialised impacts on the right to social security. Four years on, impacted individuals are still waiting for justice and accountability.

“States tend to implement AI systems as ‘technical fixes’ to societal problems, but these are often in reality cost-cutting measures which exacerbate punitive policies against marginalised people.

“Commitments made at the summit must not focus on alarmist narratives around AI, but rather move us closer towards regulation which ensures that human rights and the voices of impacted communities are centred in our protections against AI’s harms.” 

Along with more than 100 civil society organisations, Amnesty has urged the Government to keep the communities and workers most affected by AI at the forefront of decision-making on AI technologies.

View latest press releases