Fears of Artificial Intelligence: The Exercise of Public Power by Algorithms and the Rule of Law

Many of the conceptions of the Rule of Law that we use to determine the meaning and content of the concept were authored at times of great political and societal unrest. Locke, Dicey, and Hayek’s ideas were written in response to substantial fears that they held in relation to the exercise of power. These fears—of the exercise of arbitrary royal or papal power, of the expansion of the administrative state, or of totalitarian central control—shaped the content of their conceptions.

In circumstances where their revolutionary formulations of Rule of Law ideas remain influential, it is no exaggeration to suggest that contemporary ideas about what the Rule of Law is are shaped by fear (real or perceived). In this paper, I consider how fears associated with the operation and implementation of artificial intelligence in the exercise of public power may shape future revolutionary conceptions of the Rule of Law.