Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

AI and Free Speech

Toni M. Massaro, University of Arizona College of Law and Helen L. Norton, University of Colorado School of Law, are publishing Siri-ously? in volume 110 of the Northwestern University Law Review (2015). Here is the abstract.

Computers with communicative artificial intelligence are pushing First Amendment theory and doctrine in profound and novel ways. They are becoming increasingly self-directed and corporal in ways that may one day make it difficult to call the communication "ours" versus "theirs." This, in turn, invites questions about whether the First Amendment ever will (or ever should) protect AI speech or speakers even absent a locatable and accountable human creator. In this Essay, we explain why current free speech theory and doctrine pose surprisingly few barriers to this counterintuitive result; the elasticity of current theory and doctrine suggests that speaker humanness no longer may be a logically essential part of the First Amendment calculus. We further observe, however, that free speech theory and doctrine provide a basis for regulating, as well as protecting, the speech of nonhuman speakers to serve the interests of their human listeners should strong AI ever evolve to this point. Finally, we note that the futurist implications we describe are possible, but not inevitable. Indeed, contemplating these outcomes for AI speech may inspire rethinking of the free speech theory and doctrine that makes them plausible.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

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