Human-Algorithm-Hybrids as (Quasi-)Organisations? On the Accountability of Digital Collective Actors

A. Beckers*, G. Teubner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Models of individual accountability for algorithms' actions fail when a human-algorithm association comes to be viewed as a collective actor. In some situations, human and algorithmic actions are so closely intertwined that there is no longer a linear connection between the emergent collectivity and the complex interactions of humans and algorithms. In such collective decision-making sequences, individual accountability can no longer be attributed. Therefore, a new perspective on human-algorithm associations that captures their emergent properties and organizational qualities is needed to develop appropriate models of collective accountability. This article seeks to answer a number of questions. How can the encounter between humans and algorithms within such a socio-technical configuration be adequately theorized? Can the configuration itself be understood as a hybrid collectivity? Can actions be attributed to the configuration as a personified collective actor? How will accountability be institutionalized for human-algorithm associations - in centralized or distributed collective forms?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-119
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Law and Society
Issue number1
Early online date1 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2023


  • organization
  • agency
  • robots
  • AI


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