Bias in Law-Making

How Assumptions about Technology, Trustworthiness, and Human Agency underpin European Digital Law

Western law is grounded on the notion of humans as free, autonomous beings who are able to make informed choices and direct their steps based on reason and their moral consciousness. Social sciences have long questioned this narrative by pointing to the social embeddedness of the individual and the ways their viewpoints and actions are conditioned by their cultural, economic and social context. In a similar manner, more recent technological advancements, in particular in the field of data analysis and AI, are challenging the status of humans as superior active agents capable of independent thought, autonomous decision-making and the gift of learning. 

Lawmakers have responded to this changing perception of human exceptionalism with all kinds of legal mechanisms. Requirements for transparency, explainability and human supervision of autonomous decision-making systems, even the prohibition of AI applications in contexts considered to be of unacceptable risk - all attempts to retain the moral and cognitive superiority of the human over the machine.

Young Digital Law 2023 would like to explore the assumptions about the human-machine-relation underpinning European technology law.