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Siri-ously? Free Speech Rights and Artificial Intelligence

27 Pages Posted: 14 Aug 2015 Last revised: 6 Oct 2016

Toni M. Massaro

University of Arizona College of Law

Helen L. Norton

University of Colorado School of Law

Date Written: October 4, 2016

Abstract

Computers with communicative artificial intelligence (AI) 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 Article, we explain why current free speech theory and doctrine pose surprisingly few barriers to this counterintuitive result; their elasticity 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.

Keywords: first amendment, freedom of speech, speech theory, constitutional law, constitutional theory, personhood, computer speech, robots, artificial intelligence, strong artificial intelligence, machine speech, fundamental rights, autonomy, theories of rights

Suggested Citation

Massaro, Toni M. and Norton, Helen L., Siri-ously? Free Speech Rights and Artificial Intelligence (October 4, 2016). 110 Northwestern University Law Review 1169 (2016); Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 15-29. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2643043

Toni Massaro (Contact Author)

University of Arizona College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 210176
Tucson, AZ 85721-0176
United States
520-626-2687 (Phone)
520-621-9140 (Fax)

Helen Norton

University of Colorado School of Law ( email )

401 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309
United States

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