Contracts and Automation: Exploring the Normativity of Automation in the Context of U.S. Contract Law and E.U. Consumer Protection Directives

31 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2016

See all articles by Daniel D. Barnhizer

Daniel D. Barnhizer

Michigan State University College of Law

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 30, 2016

Abstract

Given a choice between two systems of contract rules, a court or legislature may have a normative obligation to adopt the rule that is more susceptible to coding and automation. This paper explores the ramifications of that normative proposition through the lens of multiple contract doctrines that traditionally involve “messy” judgments or multiple interacting judgments regarding which human beings are – arguably – capable of making finely nuanced analyses. Using the common law doctrine of unconscionability and Polish Civil Code Article 385 on unfair terms in consumer contracts, this paper explores the differences between contract rules that require human analysis versus those that can be applied with strong reliability by automated processes. Finally, the paper analyzes some of the potential pitfalls of this normative proposition in light of technological, economic, and moral/ethical concerns.

Keywords: Contract Automation; Unconscionability; Consumer Protection; Dispute Resolution

JEL Classification: K12, K40, O33

Suggested Citation

Barnhizer, Daniel D., Contracts and Automation: Exploring the Normativity of Automation in the Context of U.S. Contract Law and E.U. Consumer Protection Directives (November 30, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2878162 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2878162

Daniel D. Barnhizer (Contact Author)

Michigan State University College of Law ( email )

318 Law College Building
East Lansing, MI 48824-1300
United States
517-432-6901 (Phone)

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