Disruptive Agents and Our Onlife World: Should We Be Concerned?

Roger Brownsword


Responding to Mireille Hildebrandt’s recent book, Smart Technologies and the End(s) of Law (2015), this essay considers whether we should be concerned about the development of “smart” agent-like machines—that is, machines having the capacity to interact with, to profile, to pre-empt, to classify, and to risk-assess human agents. Moreover, should we be concerned that these machines, in conjunction with other technologies, might replace legal rules and challenge the values of the Rule of Law? Arguing that we should be so concerned, the essential terms and conditions of any defensible social license for these machines are sketched and a new agenda for jurisprudence is introduced.

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