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Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence in Light of the Negative and Positive Obligations of the State to Guarantee
the Right to Life

PROJECT HOLDER: University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Law 

PROJECT LEADER: Professor dr Vasilka Sancin 

PROJECT DURATION: 1 October 2021 – 30 September 2024 

FINANCING: Public Agency for Research of the Republic of Slovenia – ARRS


Advances in science and the development of new technologies, including the development of artificial intelligence (AI), are increasingly manifesting themselves in various spheres of life of the individual, society, the state and the international community.

In particular, since the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, it has become apparent that we rely on AI to meet our daily basic living needs and work commitments, and for a long time we have relied on automated decisions to plan, for example route planning (e.g. Google Maps calculates and suggests the fastest and most optimal route), online shopping (e.g. programs that calculate which product is the most optimal in terms of price according to our wishes and requirements), or when using smartphones via various sensors (eg GPS locating, motion, touch sensor, powerful cameras, etc.) work by collecting various data from their users. In some countries, AI systems are already used to some extent in policy-making and judicial decision-making processes (especially in criminal proceedings, see for example the Digital Justice Forum initiative led by the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary and the White House Report ‘Preparing for the Future of Artificial Intelligence’) and administrative decision-making, where decisions are made that are crucial for the individual and society in general. However, in the future, data collection, rapid exchange and (semi) automatic processing will enable the widespread use of sophisticated AI systems in various areas that are extremely important for individuals and society (eg health, judiciary, policy planning and police control).

Given the all-encompassing potential of the use of AI technology, the development and use of this technology will undoubtedly encroach (and is in some cases already encroaching on) some fundamental human rights, including the right to life. Despite the fundamental nature of the right to life, there is no in-depth scientific research into the various aspects of the interaction between the development and use of AI technology and this right. The purpose of this national research project is to contribute to filling this gap and to address the issue from the perspective of various relevant legal areas.

The protection of the right to life is undoubtedly a fundamental obligation of the State in the field of international human rights protection. All States have an obligation under international law to respect the right to life, and the latter is enshrined in all major international human rights treaties. Furthermore, the right to life in democracies is also a central human right protected at the constitutional level and plays a key role in the application and interpretation of norms in other domestic areas, such as criminal law and administrative law. Since the state is obliged to guarantee the right to life on the basis of international legal obligations, the project group will focus mainly on the coherence of the development and use of AI in terms of achieved international legal development and the adequacy of its implementation in Slovenia.


  1. Prepare a comprehensive assessment of the development and use of AI in terms of the minimum standards of negative and positive obligations of the State set by the international legal regulation of the right to life.

  2. Prepare an assessment of the normative framework that addresses all these issues from the perspective of various legal areas in the Republic of Slovenia.

  3. Identify forums where Slovenia could draw attention to the importance of protecting the right to life in the creation and adoption of global and European policies and the legal framework for the development and use of AI.


The work on the set project is divided into four sections (S): 

  1. Project content and financial management (S1),

  2. Development and use of AI systems in the light of the negative obligation of the State to respect the right to life (S2), 

  3. Development and use of AI in the light of the positive obligation of the State to respect the right to life (S3),

  4. Informing the general public about the project.

While S1 and S4 address issues of organisation of financial management and promotion of the project and its results, S2 and S3 are substantive in nature and address fundamental legal issues of harmonious development and use of AI through the prism of legal protection of the right to life.

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