Distributed ledgers, artificial intelligence and the purpose of the corporation
7 December 2020, Cambridge Law Journal
Distributed ledgers and blockchain technology are widely expected to promote more direct shareholder involvement in corporate governance by reducing costs of voting and trade clearance. Meanwhile, artificial intelligence may shrink the decision-making terrain where corporations rely on human management. This article analyses these technologies and concludes that, while such outcomes are plausible, their potential corporate governance impacts are likely more complex and contingent. Despite the implicit libertarianism that characterises much of the discourse, we in fact have choices to make about how such technologies are developed and deployed – and these policy decisions will have to be grounded in a normative conception of corporate purpose external to the technology itself.