Accountability at the end of the world: Entangled governance and non-human objects

law and technology
The European Group for Public Administration, Instituto Nacional de Administração, Lisbon

Ciarán O’Kelly


September 7, 2022

A copy of the paper is here.

This paper is concerned with the character of accountability in the context of emerging technologies. What happens to accountability when people are increasingly entangled with artificial intelligence processes? That is, instead of entering into a relationship with some other where one reports; is subject to interrogation and may suffer consequences, accountability will increasingly involve infrastructures defined by detection of patterns in people’s ‘data exhaust’ followed by automated consequences. Employing an object-oriented ontology perspective on the accountability forum, I examine the ways in which tools are entangled with accountability and from there how new kinds of accountable self might emerge from an increasingly post-human order. I ask whether more ecological metaphors, focused on accountability as a ‘technosphere,’ may better reflect emerging accountability forms where the accountable self emerges as an object increasingly disaggregated from the experienced self.


BibTeX citation:
  author = {O’Kelly, Ciarán},
  title = {Accountability at the End of the World: {Entangled}
    Governance and Non-Human Objects},
  booktitle = {The European Group for Public Administration},
  date = {2022-09-07},
  url = {},
  langid = {en}
For attribution, please cite this work as:
O’Kelly, Ciarán. 2022. “Accountability at the End of the World: Entangled Governance and Non-Human Objects.” In The European Group for Public Administration.