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Smart Technologies and the End(s) of Law

Novel Entanglements of Law and Technology Mireille Hildebrandt, Research Professor of Interfacing Law and Technology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium; Full Professor of Smart Environments, Data Protection and the Rule of Law, Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands
This timely book tells the story of the smart technologies that reconstruct our world, by provoking their most salient functionality: the prediction and preemption of our day-to-day activities, preferences, health and credit risks, criminal intent and spending capacity. Mireille Hildebrandt claims that we are in transit between an information society and a data-driven society, which has far reaching consequences for the world we depend on. She highlights how the pervasive employment of machine-learning technologies that inform so-called ‘data-driven agency’ threaten privacy, identity, autonomy, non-discrimination, due process and the presumption of innocence. The author argues how smart technologies undermine, reconfigure and overrule the ends of the law in a constitutional democracy, jeopardizing law as an instrument of justice, legal certainty and the public good. Finally, the book calls on lawyers, computer scientists and civil society not to reject smart technologies, explaining how further engaging these technologies may help to reinvent the effective protection of the rule of law.
Extent: 296 pp
Hardback Price: $135.00 Web: $121.50
Publication Date: 2015
ISBN: 978 1 84980 876 7
Availability: In Stock
Paperback Price: $39.95 Web: $31.96
Publication Date: 2016
ISBN: 978 1 78643 022 9
Availability: In Stock
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  • Law - Academic
  • Internet and Technology Law
  • Legal Philosophy
This timely book tells the story of the smart technologies that reconstruct our world, by provoking their most salient functionality: the prediction and preemption of our day-to-day activities, preferences, health and credit risks, criminal intent and spending capacity.

Mireille Hildebrandt claims that we are in transit between an information society and a data-driven society, which has far reaching consequences for the world we depend on. She highlights how the pervasive employment of machine-learning technologies that inform so-called ‘data-driven agency’ threaten privacy, identity, autonomy, non-discrimination, due process and the presumption of innocence. The author argues how smart technologies undermine, reconfigure and overrule the ends of the law in a constitutional democracy, jeopardizing law as an instrument of justice, legal certainty and the public good. Nevertheless, the book calls on lawyers, computer scientists and civil society not to reject smart technologies, explaining how further engaging these technologies may help to reinvent the effective protection of the Rule of Law.

Academics and researchers interested in the philosophy of law and technology will find this book both discerning and relevant. Practitioners and policy makers in the areas of law, computer science and engineering will benefit from the insight into smart technologies and their impact today.
‘Hildebrandt’s book is thought-provoking and a needed contribution to discussions of the impacts of smart technologies.’
– Beth-Anne Schuelke-Leech, Science and Public Policy

‘In this challenging book, Mireille Hildebrandt again shows just how far she thinks ahead of the curve. Exploring the implications of the technological changes that are impelling humans towards an “onlife” world – a world of data-driven agency, the Internet of Things, and a radically different information and communication infrastructure –Hildebrandt asks how law can maintain its mission for justice, certainty and purposiveness. Having joined Hildebrandt in this new world, readers will find it difficult to put the book down.’
– Roger Brownsword, Kings College London, UK

‘In sum, the depth and precision with which Hildebrandt provides her insights is uncommon and striking, making this book (as law professor Andrew Murray remarks in his rear-cover endorsement) one of the few “must reads” within the field. Its content is provocative and challenging, having an appeal that is sure to reach far beyond the field of legal scholarship to accompanying disciplines of computing, science and philosophy from which the book draws. Likewise, it is clear that Hildebrandt benefits from working between the disciplines of law and computer science, with her experience in computer science departments evident in the way in which she sensitively translates between, and explores, the separate logics of law and technology.’
– SCRIPT-ed

‘Do conceptions of the Rule of Law reflect timeless truths, or are they in fact contingent on a particular information and communications infrastructure – one that we are fast leaving behind? Hildebrandt has engineered a provocative encounter between law and networked digital technologies that cuts to the heart of the dilemma confronting legal institutions in a networked world.’
– Julie E. Cohen, Georgetown University, US

‘Many contemporary authors are wrestling with two technological developments which will change our society beyond recognition: big data analytics and smart technologies. Few though understand, or can explain, these developments in the way Mireille Hildebrandt does. In ambitiously bringing together legal theory, psychology, social ethnology and of course smart agency and ambient intelligence, Hildebrandt gives the most complete study of these vitally important developments. Books are often described as “must read” though few actually are; this one genuinely is.’
– Andrew Murray, London School of Economics, UK

‘Mireille Hildebrandt’s deep perception of how law is embedded in a print culture, now combined with her conviction that transformations are called for in relation to the emerging digital-electronic culture underlies this innovative book. Both a philosopher and lawyer, she is a forefront thinker concerned with smart and robotic technologies. Her addition of how Japanese language and culture shows such an interesting variant on these technologies is a strong plus. Excellent reading.’
– Don Ihde, Stony Brook University, US

‘Hildebrandt’s book is thought-provoking and a needed contribution to discussions of the impacts of smart technologies. It would certainly be useful for a university course in law or courses specifically focused on smart and autonomous systems.’
– Science and Public Policy
Contents: 1. Introduction: Diana’s onlife world 2. Smartness and Agency 3. The Onlife World 4. The Digital Unconscious: Back to Diana 5. Threats to Fundamental Rights in the Onlife World 6. The Other Side of Privacy: Agency and Privacy in Japan 7. The Ends of Law: Address and Redress 8. Intricate Entanglements of Law and Technology 9. The Fundamental Right of Data Protection 10. The End of Law or Legal Protection by Design References Index