Simple Rules for a Complex World with Artificial Intelligence

Abstract

Can artificial intelligence, in particular, machine learning algorithms, replace the idea of simple rules, such as first possession and voluntary exchange in free markets, as a foundation for public policy? This paper argues that the preponderance of the evidence sides with the interpretation that while artificial intelligence will help public policy along important aspects, simple rules will remain the fundamental guideline for the design of institutions and legal environments where markets operate. “Digital socialism” might be a hipster thing to talk about in Williamsburg or Shoreditch, but it is as much of a chimera as “analog socialism.”

Keywords: Artificial intelligence, machine learning, economics, law, rule of law. JEL codes: D85, H10, H30.