Constitutional Democracy and Technology in the age of Artificial Intelligence

DOI 10.1098/RSTA.2018.0089 - Royal Society Philosophical Transactions A

25 Pages Posted: 11 Sep 2018

See all articles by Paul Nemitz

Paul Nemitz

European Commission; College of Europe, Brugge

Date Written: August 18, 2018


Given the foreseeable pervasiveness of Artificial Intelligence in modern societies, it is legitimate and necessary to ask the question how this new technology must be shaped to support the maintenance and strengthening of constitutional democracy. This paper first describes the four core elements of today's digital power concentration, which need to be seen in cumulation and which, seen together, are both a threat to democracy and to functioning markets. It then recalls the experience with the lawless internet and the relationship between technology and the law as it has developed in the internet economy and the experience with GDPR before it moves on to the key question for AI in democracy, namely which of the challenges of AI can be safely and with good conscience left to ethics, and which challenges of AI need to be addressed by rules which are enforceable and encompass the legitimacy of democratic process, thus laws. The paper closes with a call for a new culture of incorporating the principles of Democracy, Rule of law and Human Rights by design in AI and a three level technological impact assessment for new technologies like AI as a practical way forward for this purpose.

Keywords: AI, Artificial Intelligence, GDPR, Internet, Democracy, Rule of Law, Fundamental Rights, Ethics, Law, Digital Power, Concentration, Impact Assessment

JEL Classification: K 13, K 23, K 42

Suggested Citation

Nemitz, Paul Friedrich, Constitutional Democracy and Technology in the age of Artificial Intelligence (August 18, 2018). DOI 10.1098/RSTA.2018.0089 - Royal Society Philosophical Transactions A, Available at SSRN: or

Paul Friedrich Nemitz (Contact Author)

European Commission ( email )

Rue de la Loi 200
Brussels, B-1049

College of Europe, Brugge ( email )

Dijver 11
B-8000 Brugge, Oost Vlanderen 10000

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