cover art for carr center discussion papers Rapid advances in AI have created a global sense of urgency around the ways that automated systems are changing human lives. Not all of these changes are necessarily for the better. On what basis, therefore, might we be able to assert a right to be free from automated systems and AI? The idea seems absurd, given how embedded these technologies already are and the improvements they have generated in contemporary life when we compare with prior peri- ods in human history. And yet, there are good grounds for recognizing a general entitlement to protect at least three important human abilities: i) to work; ii) to know and understand the source of the content we consume; and iii) to make our own decisions. Understood compre- hensively, a right to freedom from automated systems and AI could mean that individuals and communities are presented with alternative options and/or leverage to keep them from losing these abilities long cherished in the history of human development. Such a right does not call for dismantling the technological age, but rather designates what we ought to con- test and protect in a world with a precarious dependence on technology.


Ziyaad Bhorat. 10/2/2023. “Automation Anxiety And a Right to Freedom from Automated Systems and AI.”  Cambridge, MA: Harvard Kennedy School.