UK – The Observer: Human rights lawyer Susie Alegre: ‘If AI is so complex it can’t be explained, there are areas where it shouldn’t be used’

The author of Human Rights, Robot Wrongs on why AI isn’t an all-or-nothing equation, separating hype from genuine dangers, and discovering that ChatGPT says she doesn’t exist

Susie Alegre is an international human rights lawyer and author, originally from the Isle of Man, whose focus in recent years has been on technology and its impact on human rights. As a legal expert she has advised Amnesty International, the UN and other organisations on issues such as counter-terrorism and anti-corruption. Her first book, Freedom to Think, published in 2022 and shortlisted for the Christopher Bland prize, looked at the history of legal freedoms around thought. In her new book Human Rights, Robot Wrongs, she turns her attention to the ways in which AI threatens our rights in areas such as war, sex and creativity – and what we might do to fight back.

What prompted you to write this book?
There were two triggers. One was the sudden explosion of ChatGPT and the narrative about how everyone can be a novelist now and there’s going to be no need for human creators, because AI will be able to do it all for us. It felt utterly depressing. The second was the story about a Belgian man who took his own life after a six-week intensive relationship with an AI chatbot. His widow felt that, without this relationship, which distorted his worldview, he would have still been there for her and for his children. That triggered me to think – well, this is absolutely about the right to life; to family life, to freedom of thought and freedom from manipulation. And how are we thinking about AI and the really severe ways that it’s impacting our human rights?

Read the interview