The Rule of Law, Science Fiction, and Fears of Artificial Intelligence
In this article, I consider how fears of the future operation and use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the exercise of constitutional power and how the depiction of AI in science fiction may play a role in determining future conceptions of the Rule of Law. Through its role in limiting the exercise of arbitrary power, the Rule of Law plays a crucial role in society. Where popular Rule of Law conceptions were frequently shaped by their authors’ fears, the Rule of Law is a product of fear. The operation of AI in society is also tainted by fear. This fear is exacerbated by science fiction accounts that frequently portray AI as complicit in a dystopian future. This portrayal of AI’s role is capable of generating a state of fear in society that assists in priming society to accept a different form of the Rule of Law in the future. In other words, where contemporary ideas of the Rule of Law are shaped by fear, and where fear exists in relation to AI’s exercise of constitutional power (and where this is influenced by depictions of AI in science fiction), fears associated with AI’s exercise of power may shape future conceptions of the Rule of Law.