In Karen Yeung & Martin Lodge (eds.), Algorithmic Regulation
. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press (forthcoming
We live in a world in which ‘smart’ algorithmic tools are regularly used to structure and control our choice environments. They do so by affecting the options with which we are presented and the choices that we are encouraged or able to make. Many of us make use of these tools in our daily lives, using them to solve personal problems and fulfill goals and ambitions. What consequences does this have for individual autonomy and how should our legal and regulatory systems respond? This chapter defends three claims by way of response. First, it argues that autonomy is indeed under threat in some new and interesting ways. Second, it evaluates and disputes the claim that we shouldn’t overestimate these new threats because the technology is just an old wolf in a new sheep’s clothing. Third, and finally, it looks at responses to these threats at both the individual and societal level and argues that although we shouldn’t encourage an attitude of ‘helplessness’ among the users of algorithmic tools there is an important role for legal and regulatory responses to these threats that go beyond what are currently on offer.