Beyond Justice: Artificial Intelligence and the Value of Community

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Most discussions in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) ethics concern the avoidance of individual wrongs like discrimination, the violation of privacy, or algorithmic unfairness. Focusing instead on the collective good of community, this chapter assesses how AI will shape our ability to realize this value in contemporary polities. After characterizing the good of community and defining its societal prerequisites, I assess how AI advances will likely shape it in the future. I sketch some positive effects that AI could have: by providing us with unprecedented powers to control the social world, we could, in principle avoid many currently prevailing community-undermining phenomena. Then I contrast this hopeful vision with AI’s challenges. The chapter documents how its implementation has threatened community in existing, imperfect polities through entrenchment and dispersal and how it has contributed to anti-community pathologies and decommunitarization. Next I look at possible structural long-term shifts and their impact on democratic community, namely “datafication,” “automation” and a “disappearing public sphere.” Each of these phenomena challenge our ability to realize the ideal in rapidly transforming circumstances. Finally, I summarize the argument and points to some policies to both mitigate AI’s threats and harness its possibilities. For some challenges, received policy instruments may be sufficient. But for the most significant ones, democratic polities need to develop and implement genuinely new forms of collective political action to control where and how AI is implemented.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of AI Governance
Editors Bullock Justin B., Yu-Che Chen, Johannes Himmelreich, Hudson Valerie M., Korinek Anton, Mathew M. Young, Baobao Zhang
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9780197579330
ISBN (Print)9780197579329
Publication statusPublished - 22 Oct 2022

Publication series

NameOxford Handbooks
PublisherOxford University Press


  • Artificial intelligence
  • Justice
  • Community
  • Solidarity
  • Fairness
  • Democracy


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