Law and Empathy in the Automated State

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



In the future, administrative agencies will rely increasingly on digital automation powered by AI. Can U.S. administrative law accommodate such a future? Not only might an automated state readily meet longstanding administrative law principles, but the responsible use of AI might perform even better than the status quo in terms of fulfilling administrative law’s core values of expert decision-making and democratic accountability. AI governance clearly promises more accurate, data-driven decisions. Moreover, due to their mathematical properties, AI and ADM tools might well prove to be more faithful agents of democratic institutions. Yet even if an automated state was smarter and more accountable, it might risk being less empathic. Although the degree of empathy in existing human-driven bureaucracies should not be overstated, a large-scale shift to the use of AI tools by government will pose a new challenge for administrative law: ensuring that an automated state is also an empathic one.


AI tools, automated decisicon-making (ADM), Administrative law, automated state, administrative decision-making, Accountability, empathy, US administrative law

Publication Title

Money, Power, and AI: Automated Banks and Automated States