Seth Lazar
Australian National University
Here is my thesis (and the outline of this paper). Increasingly secret, complex and inscrutable computational systems are being used to intensify existing power relations, and to create new ones (Section II). To be all-things-considered morally permissible, new, or newly intense, power relations must in general meet standards of procedural legitimacy and proper authority (Section III). Legitimacy and authority constitutively depend, in turn, on a publicity requirement: reasonably competent members of the political community in which power is being exercised must be able to determine that power is being exercised legitimately and with proper authority (Section IV). The publicity requirement can be satisfied only if the powerful can explain their decision-making—including the computational tools that they use to support it—to members of their political community. Section V applies these ideas to opaque computational systems. Section VI addresses objections; Section VII concludes.
Keywords Explanations  Artificial Intelligence  Legitimacy  Authority  Democracy  Algorithmic Opacity
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