Missing Mechanisms of Manipulation in the EU AI Act


  • Matija Franklin University College London
  • Hal Ashton University College London
  • Rebecca Gorman
  • Stuart Armstrong




EU AI Act, Manipulation, Influence, Preference Change, Behavior Change, AI Policy


The European Union Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act proposes to ban AI systems that ”manipulate persons through subliminal techniques or exploit the fragility of vulnerable individuals, and could potentially harm the manipulated individual or third person”. This article takes the perspective of cognitive psychology to analyze and understand what algorithmic manipulation consists of, who vulnerable individuals may be, and what is considered as harm. Subliminal techniques are expanded with concepts from behavioral science and the study of preference change. Individual psychometric differences which can be exploited are used to expand the concept of vulnerable individuals. The concept of harm is explored beyond physical and psychological harm to consider harm to one's time and right to an un-manipulated opinion. The paper offers policy recommendations that extend from the paper's analyses.




How to Cite

Franklin, M., Ashton, H., Gorman, R., & Armstrong, S. (2022). Missing Mechanisms of Manipulation in the EU AI Act. The International FLAIRS Conference Proceedings, 35. https://doi.org/10.32473/flairs.v35i.130723



Special Track: Security, Privacy and Ethics in AI