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Researchers Raise Alarm Over Use of AI in Immigration, Refugee Decision-Making


Canada has been using automated decision-making tools for at least four years on immigration and visa applications.

A University of Toronto study found the trend of government replacing human decision-making with machines is creating a laboratory for high-risk experiments that threaten migrants human rights.

Credit: Jenny Kim/Ryookyung Kim Design

Researchers in Canada are expressing concern over government initiatives to replace human decision-making with artificial intelligence, with one University of Toronto (U of T) team saying it is giving rise to "a laboratory for high-risk experiments" that threaten immigrants' human rights.

The team delved into public records, including public statements, policies, and media reports of the Canadian government's adoption of the technologies in the immigration system.

U of T's Petra Molnar says Canada has been using automated decision-making tools for at least four years to triage immigration and visa applications into simple cases and complex ones that require further auditing by officers due to warning signs the algorithms were trained to spot.

Molnar says, "Biases of the individuals designing an automated system or selecting the data that trains it can result in discriminatory outcomes that are difficult to challenge because they are opaque."

From The Star (Toronto)
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