Regulating by Robot Administrative Decision Making in the Machine-Learning Era
Citation: 105 Geo L.J. (2017)
Machine-learning algorithms are transforming large segments of the economy as they fuel innovation in search engines, self-driving cars, product marketing, and medical imaging, among many other technologies. As machine learning’s use expands across all facets of society, anxiety has emerged about the intrusion of algorithmic machines into facets of life previously dependent on human judgment. Alarm bells sounding over the diffusion of artificial intelligence throughout the private sector only portend greater anxiety about digital robots replacing humans in the governmental sphere. A few administrative agencies have already begun to adopt this technology, while others have clear potential in the near term to use algorithms to shape official decisions over both rulemaking and adjudication. It is no longer fanciful to envision a future in which government agencies could effectively make law by robot, a prospect that understandably conjures up dystopian images of individuals surrendering their liberty to the control of computerized overlords. Should society be alarmed by governmental use of machine-learning applications?