Helen Norton and Toni Massaro on ‘Siriously? Free Speech Rights for Artificial Intelligence’

Helen Norton

Helen Norton

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. The authors explain why current free speech theory and doctrine pose surprisingly few barriers to this counterintuitive result; their elasticity suggests that speaker human-ness no longer may be a logically essential part of the First Amendment calculus.

Toni Massaro

Toni Massaro

The authors also 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. Moreover, contemplating these outcomes for AI speech may inspire rethinking of the free speech theory and doctrine that makes them plausible.

Helen Norton and Toni Massaro will present Siriously? Free Speech Rights for Artificial Intelligence on Saturday, April 2nd at 3:15 PM with discussant Margot E. Kaminski at the University of Miami Newman Alumni Center in Coral Gables, Florida.

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