Karni Chagal, ‘The Reasonable Algorithm’

Abstract
Algorithmic decision-makers dominate many aspects of our lives. Beyond simply performing complex computational tasks, they often replace human discretion and even professional judgement. As sophisticated and accurate as they may be, autonomous algorithms may cause damage.

A car accident could involve both human drivers and driverless vehicles. Patients may receive an erroneous diagnosis or treatment recommendation from either a physician or a medical-algorithm. Yet because algorithms were traditionally considered ‘mere tools’ in the hands of humans, the tort framework applying to them is significantly different than the framework applying to humans, potentially leading to anomalous results in cases where humans and algorithms decision-makers could interchangeably cause damage.

This article discusses the disadvantages stemming from these anomalies and proposes to develop and apply a ‘reasonable algorithm’ standard to non-human decision makers – similar to the ‘reasonable person’ or ‘reasonable professional’ standard that applies to human tortfeasors.

Chagal, Karni, The Reasonable Algorithm (January 2, 2018). Journal of Law, Technology and Policy, Forthcoming.

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