AI translation puts asylum seekers in jeopardy

Originally published at: AI translation puts asylum seekers in jeopardy | Boing Boing


Absolutely not surprised. And I will not be surprised when we find out they continued to use it for these purposes despite all the well documented failures. At this point, I have reached the conclusion that the only thing AI is good for replacing are ceos and upper managers.


That’s just the start.

The AI provided bad translations, and as a result humans made bad decisions, but at least it wasn’t directly making the decisions.

Evaluating health insurance claims seems like it would be complex, with so many regulations, contract clauses, lookups of this and that, company networks, etc. Why not shovel it all into an AI and let it sort them out?

Executives, with an eye on the quarterly numbers, will naturally instruct it to be tough when evaluating claims. And that’s when claims will be denied, citing non-existent reasons, imaginary chapter and verse.

Death panels, without anyone getting their hands dirty.


Bigots and xenophobes who think this will only affect asylum seekers should make themselves aware of Cory Doctorow’s Sh*tty Technology Adoption Curve. This kind of thing will reach them long before it does the librul coastal elites.


And this is how “AI” destroys society - not by becoming a tyrant super-intelligence, but by humans adopting stupid tools they know don’t work, but pretending they do, causing an increase in the stupidity of human-run systems (or, worse, handing over those systems to unintelligent computer systems entirely).


Not saying it’s Peter Thiel’s Palantir but it’s highly likely it’s Palantir’s AI translation tools. Interviewing Afghan refugees takes place upon arrival at US Army bases.

It’s game over for those who fail asylum applications. They are now destined to remain on US bases forever unless they voluntarily request to be flown back to Afghanistan. Even if they are granted asylum they face many obstacles.

As well as facing the US right wing political hate machine…

The use of AI to determine the fate of human lives is completely unacceptable. Effing hire a human to take notes.


but that would require spending less money on rich people, guns, and bombs. what are you… a socialist!?


As someone who relies on automated translations way too much, I’m pretty sure that “I” Vs “We” is not a major discrepancy when reading an account written in English from someone who we know doesn’t speak it in the first place.


I’m sure you’re right but probably the US immigration have the same objective as the UK lot, whose purpose is to deny entry to everyone by any means necessary.

The UK government insists asylum seekers fill in lots of forms which are available in English only, and advise the use of machine translation if you can’t afford a translator. It’s hard enough for asylum seekers to afford a smartphone.

Everything is shameful.


And the UK govt is thinking about using AI to speed up the processing of its huge backlog of asylum claims. What could go wrong?


You’re aware of the limitations of machine translation. The officials reading the translated statements and making decisions based on them may well not be.

By the way, I’ve read that asylum seekers in South Korea have had applications refused because interpreters mistranslated what they said during interviews. The interpreters are not always fluent in the languages they are employed to translate, and some of them deliberately distort what asylum seekers say because they don’t want them to be allowed in.


Yeah, years ago on PBS I saw some kind of documentary following different well-meaning but overworked and under-resourced people who work in the US immigration system screening asylum applicants. The documentary showed one of these interviews where the worker ended up rejecting an applicant’s emotional plea for political asylum (from Honduras, I think?) and the decision was a result, in part, of inaccuracies in the interpreter’s translation. And that was in freakin’ spanish, which the US has no shortage of fluent speakers. So this whole situation sucks. People who speak less common languages are up against some rough odds, whether there’s a human translator available or not.

The documentary ended with at least one long-time worker who was a main subject quitting due to burnout.


I suspect @Kilkrazy is closer to the truth than either of us:


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