November 3, 2021
Artificial Intelligence at AQAADI’s Thirtieth Anniversary Conference – Will Techno Solutionism & Cyber Libertarianism Dominate Canada’s Immigration Processing?
I am excited to present at the Association québécoise des avocats et avocates en droit de l’immigration’s (AQAADI), thirtieth anniversary conference next week on the impact of Artificial Intelligence on IRCC’s discretionary decision-making. Canada’s immigration system is bulging at the seams, stifled by the challenges of COVID-19, growing backlogs, lengthy processing queues, and uneven modernization. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is to be commended for continuing the modernization process and refining measures to enhance program delivery, integrity, and compliance. This includes through the digitization of delivery, information collection, data storage, document management and the expanding use of “artificial intelligence solutions” (AI). Yet, apprehension remains over the move to techno-solutionism. The growing concern is that individualized assessments and officer discretion will uncomfortably coexist, and potentially be compromised by the need for speed and mass processing.
As IRCC likely plans a global rollout of AI in the not-too-distant future now is the time to better understand these emerging technologies inclusive of Chinook and Hiraya and the need for responsible and innovative AI (technological) governance. Five key “protective” features include, (1) Respect for fundamental rights, (2) Equal treatment, (3) Data security, (4) Transparency and (5) AI under user control. These issues and much more are canvassed in the next issue of Immquest.
AI and other technologies are fundamentally altering the manner in which immigration applications are processed. The hope is that if applied properly it will result in many gains. What we must avoid however, is the sharp and shiny new tool of AI bypassing consensus building, measured scrutiny and worse yet, the rule of law, devolving immigration decision-making into a moving target based upon the latest undisclosed algorithms as we have seen in some examples internationally. Techno-solutionism and cyber-libertarianism must be balanced and not dominate the narrative. To be continued . . .
As always thank you for reading.