The Expansion of Algorithmic Governance: From Code Is Law to Law Is Code

Hassan, S. & De Filippi, P. (2017). The Expansion of Algorithmic Governance: From Code is Law to Law is Code. Field Actions Science Reports: The Journal of Field Actions. Special issue 17: Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in the City. Open Edition Journals

4 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2018

See all articles by Samer Hassan

Samer Hassan

Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM); Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

Primavera De Filippi

Université Paris II - Panthéon-Assas

Date Written: December 31, 2017

Abstract

“Code is law” is a form of regulation whereby technology is used to enforce existing rules. With the advent of Blockchain and Machine Learning, we are witnessing a new trend, whereby technology is progressively taking the upper-hand over these rules. Yet, as opposed to traditional legal rules, which merely stipulates what people shall or shall not do, technical rules determine what people can or cannot do in the first place. This eliminates the need for any third party enforcement authority to intervene after the fact, in order to punish those who infringed the law. Moreover, as laws are incorporated into a code-based system whose rules dynamically evolve as new information is fed into the system, it might become difficult for people to not only understand, but also question the legitimacy of the rules that are affecting their lives on a daily basis.

Keywords: code is law, blockchain, smart contracts, cryptocurrencies, self-governing protocols

Suggested Citation

Hassan, Samer and De Filippi, Primavera, The Expansion of Algorithmic Governance: From Code Is Law to Law Is Code (December 31, 2017). Hassan, S. & De Filippi, P. (2017). The Expansion of Algorithmic Governance: From Code is Law to Law is Code. Field Actions Science Reports: The Journal of Field Actions. Special issue 17: Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in the City. Open Edition Journals, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3117630

Samer Hassan

Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM) ( email )

Facultad de Informática UCM
c/Profesor José García Santesmases, 9
Madrid, Madrid 28040
Spain

HOME PAGE: http://samer.hassan.name

Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society ( email )

Berkman Klein Center at Harvard University
23 Everett, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Primavera De Filippi (Contact Author)

Université Paris II - Panthéon-Assas ( email )

12 place du Pantheon
Paris cedex 06, 75231
France

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