Laura Ammannati

‘Neo-feudalism’ in the age of algorithms

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Digital platforms, digital ecosystems, algorithm, private powers, algorithmic reg- ulation.

Digital platforms have strengthened their power more and more by collecting and exploiting data processed through algorithms. Economic and social interactions are increasingly shaped by the technology and software. Such a reliance on digital technologies has brought about the tendency of private subjects (but also of public institutions) to replace traditional norms and rules with regulations based on the code (code is law). From this perspective digital giants are no longer market participants. Rather they are market makers and exert regulatory control over the terms which define the positions of commercial and final users. Moreover they aspire to displace more governmental and public roles over time, performing functions and tasks normally vested in public authorities such as judicial bodies and courts. This shift in power towards private actors has led to an expanding privatization in the field of individuals’ rights as well. Algorithms are replacing the traditional functions of law embedding private values and interests in the technology. They represent the key of digital platforms’ power. Therefore regulators should ‘capture’ the algorithm to steer its effects and thanks to the technology be able to introduce regulatory principles into the design of the digital code.

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