Algorithmic Regulation

This trend deals with the use of algorithms in policy and decision making. First, there is the trend of algorithmic regulation. Algorithmic regulation means that regulatory decision making is delegated to algorithms. The algorithms give the instructions of what should be done to achieve a desired outcome. [1]
The trend of using algorithms in governance and an increasing reliance of public decision making on algorithms is sometimes also called algocracy. [2]
In this context two other more ideological and sceptical terms has been raised. Dataism is a kind of ideology or philosophy in which trusts in Big Data and algorithms is central and which relies on the assumption, that the world´s complexity can be handled through data. Yuval Harari introduced this ideology in his book “Homo Deus” to a wider audience. Dataism is very similar to the obove mentioned trend of algorithmic accountability/ algogracy. [3] [4]
Solutionism is a term coined by Evgeny Morozov. Solutionism means the belief that there are simple technical solutions to everything. It´s about the conviction that technologies, algorithms and robots can solve highly complex social problems by making processes more efficient. Morozov is critical of such an ideology of problem solving, in which algorithms and not elected governments make the decision. [5] [6]
Algorithmic Regulation is further accompanied by algorithmic accountability. Algorithmic Accountability concerns control mechanisms of the algorithms used for decision making. It has emerged as a concept in the public and private sector that includes obligations through which algorithmic decision making needs to be reported, explained and justified, to mitigate any negative social impacts, biases or potential harms. The goal is to hold the algorithmic regulation accountable and ensure transparency in algorithm-based decision making processes. [7]


[1]    Brice, J. (2017), Algorithmic regulation on trial? Professional judgement and the authorisation of algorithmic decision making, in: Andrews, L./ Benbouzid, B./ Brice, J./ Bygrace, L.A./ Demortian, D./ Griffiths, A./ Lodge, M./ Mennicken, A./ Yeung, K. (ed.), Algorithmic Regulation, The London School of Economics and Political Sciene, London, 25-30.
[2]    Danaher, J. (2016), The Threat of Algocracy: Reality, Resistance and Accommodation, Philosophy & Technology, 29(3), 245-258.
[3]    Harari, Y. N. (2016), Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, Havill Secker, London.
[4]    Harari, Y. (2016), Yuval Noah Harari on big data, Google and the end of free will, Financial Times,, retrieved March 1, 2018.
[5]    Tucker, I. (2013), Interview. Evgeny Morozov: `We are abandoning all the checks and balances’, The Guardian,, retrieved March 1, 2018.
[6]    Morozov, E. (2013), The Perils of Perfection, The New York Times,, retrieved March 1, 2018.
[7]    World Wide Web Foundation (2017), Algorithmic Accountability. Appliying the concept to different country contexts,, retrieved March 9, 2018.
Big data potential
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