Treading the Intersection of AI, Media and Human Rights

Researcher Yildirim-Vranckaert on Addressing Mental Autonomy in AI Regulations
Emine Ozge Yildirim-Vranckaert, doctoral researcher, KU Leuven Center for IT and IP Law

The ability of artificial intelligence to sway public opinion and shape perceptions using techniques such as behavior analysis, microtargeting, rapid data processing and personalized content delivery poses a significant threat to the core tenets of the right to freedom of thought. This right includes protection against manipulation and safeguarding mental autonomy.

As generative AI is increasingly used in media practices to shape narratives, there is a pressing call to delineate and defend the right to freedom of thought within the AI regulatory frameworks.

"Legislative efforts lack clear distinctions between legitimate and illegitimate influence on thoughts and fail to comprehend manipulation in a way that is future-proof, focusing primarily on the immediate concerns," said Emine Ozge Yildirim-Vranckaert, a doctoral researcher at KU Leuven Center for IT & IP Law in Belgium.

While the EU AI Act addresses mental autonomy, she said, there is lack of clarity on the scope of what it is trying to protect, and the mental harm it mentions is difficult to prove.

In this video interview with Information Security Media Group, Yildirim-Vranckaert also discussed:

  • Safeguarding mental autonomy from AI and media manipulation;
  • The implications of AI on freedom of thought;
  • The need for addressing mental autonomy in AI regulations.

Yildirim-Vranckaert is a leading legal and policy professional. Her research interests include digital freedom of thought and expression, cognitive liberty, platform liabilities and immunities, and philosophy of technology. She has been recognized as one of the "100 Brilliant Women in AI Ethics 2024" by Women in AI Ethics.

About the Author

Shipra Malhotra

Shipra Malhotra

Managing Editor, ISMG

Malhotra has more than two decades of experience in technology journalism and public relations. She writes about enterprise technology and security-related issues and has worked at, Dataquest and The Indian Express.

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