Everything Is Not Terminator: We Need the California Bot Bill, But We Need It to Be Better

Headshot - John Weaver
John F. Weaver
Director, Corporate Department and Chair, Real Estate Practice Group and Chair, Artificial Intelligence Practice
Published: Journal of Robotics, Artificial Intelligence & Law
September 20, 2018

I am on record in a number of publications as interpreting the First Amendment literally when it comes to freedom of speech for artificial intelligence (“AI”). The First Amendment does not
refer to human beings or natural persons. The First Amendment states that the federal, state, and local governments “shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech.” A recent bill in the
California legislature, Senate Bill No. 1001 (the “Bot Bill”), is testing that, though, as it would make it unlawful for any person to use a bot—defined as “an automated online account on an online
platform that is designed to mimic or behave like the account of a person”—to “communicate or interact with another person in California online,” subject to certain provisions. In order to avoid
unlawful use of a bot, the owner of the bot can disclose that the bot is, in fact, a bot.

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