Silencing Bad Bots: Global, Legal and Political Questions for Mean Machine Communication
23 Comm. L. & Pol'y 159-195 (2018)
Posted: 24 Mar 2018
Date Written: March 20, 2017
As digital automation expands across social contexts, the way in which legal systems respond when algorithms produce lies and hate presents a pressing policy problem. Search results, autofill suggestions, and intelligent personal assistants generate seemingly objective information for users in order to be helpful, efficient or fun but, as social technologies, can also produce prejudicial and false content. Chatbots and trending lists have made headlines for quickly being transformed from sweet to spiteful and political to inaccurate. As humans progressively engage with and rely on machine communication, the legality of algorithmically created information that harms the reputation or dignity of an individual, entity or group is a policy question posed and answered differently around the world. This article compares various defamation and hate speech laws through the lens of algorithmic content production – mean machine communication – and presents a set of outstanding issues that will require international and interdisciplinary attention.
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