Front cover

Almost Human: Law and Human Agency in the Time of Artificial Intelligence - Sixth Annual T.M.C. Asser Lecture
Series: Annual T.M.C. Asser Lecture Series

July 2021 Author: Prof Andrew Murray, Department of Law, London School of Economics (LSE), United Kingdom



  • Published: July 2021
  • Pages: x + 59 pp.
  • Publisher: T.M.C. ASSER PRESS
  • Distributor: T.M.C. Asser Press
  • ISBN: 978-90-6704-366-3

Andrew Murray on his lecture Almost Human: Law and Human Agency in the Time of Artificial Intelligence:

‘Law is about agency – the human capacity to act independently and to make our own free choices. As Jeremy Webber observes, “Law is consciously created” and is the distillation of the collective agency of a society, group, or culture. The rule of law is the ultimate distillation of this principle: the clear spirit of human choice in the purest form.

However, the process of datafication: the reduction of the complexity of the world to data values, threatens the fabric of human agency and the rule of law. Complexity becomes numerical values and choices become mathematical processes. Human brains, less equipped for this form of decision-making, risk being replaced by algorithmic decision-making. Human agency diminishes as Artificial Intelligence ascends.

LawTech replaces lawyers; risk assessments replace actuaries; there is even the possibility of “algorithmic warfare”. In meeting this challenge, the focus to date has been to invest in AI Ethics rather than AI Regulation. The EU Commission, in its recent White Paper, recommended ethical guidelines could be the foundation for a human-centric trust framework in AI. This lecture challenges this normative assumption by identifying the foundations of datafication and addressing its challenge to human agency, and above all the rule of law.’

About Prof. Andrew Murray:

Andrew Murray is a Professor of Law and Deputy Head of the Department of Law at the London School of Economics where he researches and teaches in the fields of Internet and new media law, including the laws of digital surveillance and digital privacy.

Professor Murray is a leading thinker on information technology law and regulation, who focuses on regulatory design within Cyberspace and on the protection and the promotion of Human Rights within the digital environment. In 2018/19 he was the specialist advisor to the British House of Lords Communications Committee inquiry 'Regulating in a Digital World'.

He has written a number of impactful books, including, The Regulation of Cyberspace (2007), Rethinking the Jurisprudence of Cyberspace (2018) and Information Technology Law: The Law and Society (4th edition, 2019). Click here for a video on Law in the Age of Artificial Intelligence.

The lecture held by Andrew Murray has now been published as a book in the Annual T.M.C. Asser Lecture Series

Download the full text of the Sixth Annual T.M.C. Asser Lecture below or order the printed version via at EUR 10.00 excl. p&p.

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