HT24 Week 5 Practical Ethics and Law Lecture

The Rule of Law after the Anthropocene


The value of governing human conduct by law depends upon very general facts about what people are like. Those facts include that people have limited abilities to retain and process information; are prone to bias, favoritism, and arbitrariness; and find it difficult to spontaneously coordinate behavior at scale. Ordering human behavior around rules helps us work around these limitations. Agents who do not share those limitations have less reason to value the rule of law. Advanced AI systems do not share the same epistemic and practical limitations as humans. Such systems may allow us to overcome our limitations without reliance on general rules. As a social technology, the rule of law’s value may diminish as other technologies arise to fulfill its principal functions.

Respondent: Dr Leah Trueblood (Faculty of Law, University of Oxford)

Speaker: Vincent Chiao (University of Toronto)

All University Members welcome (booking not required). 

In-person venue: Oxford Uehiro Centre, Suite 1 Seminar Area, Littlegate House, 16-17 St Ebbe’s Street, Oxford OX1 1PT (buzzer 1)