Role-Reversible Judgments and Related Democratic Objections to AI Judges

Ebrahimi Afrouzi, Amin | December 22, 2023

In a recent article published by this journal, Kiel Brennan-Marquez and Stephen E. Henderson argue that replacing human judges with AI would violate the role-reversibility ideal of democratic governance. Unlike human judges, they argue, AI judges are not reciprocally vulnerable to the process and effects of their own decisions. I argue that role-reversibility, though a formal ideal of democratic governance, is in the service of substantive ends that may be independently achieved under AI judges. Thus, although role-reversibility is necessary for democratic governance when human judges are on the job, it may not be so when AI judges replace them. One broader implication for normative evaluation of disruptive technologies follows: formal and substantive ideals that often align must be independently examined in the evaluation of disruptive technologies. This is because these formal and substantive ideals may no longer align under the factual circumstances that come to govern when such technologies are deployed.