AI Administration

How digital is government: towards democracy 4.0?

“Administration” is usually not associated with innovative power. However, digital technologies may be able to unlock hitherto unrecognized potential. Automated systems and AI seem predestined to take over standardized bureaucratic and decision-making processes. The project focuses on the opportunities and challenges associated with AI in administration and develops regulatory and safeguarding mechanisms.

Research in the legal sciences has not yet dealt with the question of how government should not only regulate forms of artificial intelligence, but also in fact use them itself. Achieving economic efficiency and time savings through AI applications are also attractive goals for the public sector.

Prof. Dr. Mario Martini and Dr. Hannah Ruschemeier at ‘Meet the Scientists’ in Düsseldorf (Photo: Michael Schwettmann)

Public administration is already shifting standardized processes and decisions to algorithm-based systems and using the analytical power of complex software applications for government tasks (e.g. for fully automated tax assessment and social administration procedures). However, if government also wishes to use artificial intelligence, then it is subject to special requirements. The use of artificial intelligence must first and foremost be measured against the standard of the constitutional principles of the Basic Law: the principles of democracy and the rule of law should provide the framework for the use of adaptive software applications in the context of state power, and attention should be given to the structural principles and basic legal normative requirements of the respective area of special administrative law.

The project aims to investigate from a legal perspective the special challenges and perspectives regarding the state’s use of artificial intelligence. The project also aims to map out the normative contextual conditions necessary for digitized, but democratically controlled, state administrative activity and accompanying protective mechanisms (such as the obligation to be transparent and to justify any measures taken). Properly grasping the structural changes resulting from new administrative technologies requires not only an analysis of legal dogma, but also a holistic view of the “digitalization of administration”.