Background

What happens if we are ruled by machines? What happens if we are ourselves indistinguishable from machines?

These are the questions raised by this project. The goal is to map out and evaluate the possible answers.

It makes sense to separate this task out into three main areas of inquiry.

 

  • 1. What is the logical space of algocracy? It is too easy to label the use of algorithms in governance ‘algocratic’. Using that term could hide important differences between  different types of algocractic system both in terms of the functions performed by machines and the ways they relate to human beings.

 

  • 2. Do algocracy and transhumanism threaten political/humanistic values? There is much concern in the current literature about the ways in which algocratic governance systems could undermine equality, fairness and procedural legitimacy. But there is also much optimism about their potential efficiency and accuracy. The same dichotomy is apparent in the literature about transhumanism.

 

  • 3. Could we be undergoing a transformation in values? Could it be that our embrace of technology is leading to a transformation in the foundational values of our culture? We have undergone such transformations in the past. What can we learn from that past about our present.

 

The scoping papers provide an initial survey of these areas of inquiry. Their purpose is not to provide persuasive and comprehensive analyses of the relevant topics. Rather, their purpose is to provoke deeper reflection and inquiry.