Should bots have free speech rights? + Vid games: Why not sex violence & child abuse?

Should Bots Have a Right to Free Speech? This Non-Profit Thinks So.

EXCERPT: Do you have a right to know if you’re talking to a bot? How about the bot? Does it have the right to keep that information from you? Those questions have been stirring in the minds of many since well before Google demoed Duplex, a human-like AI that makes phone calls on a user’s behalf, earlier this month.

Bots — online accounts that appear to be controlled by a human, but are actually powered by AI — are now prevalent all across the internet, specifically on social media sites. While some people think legally forcing these bots to “out” themselves as non-human would be beneficial, others think doing so violates the bot’s right to free speech. Yes, they believe bots have the same First Amendment rights as humans in America.

Here are the arguments on both sides of the debate, so you can decide for yourself....


Brutality is common in video games, but not sexual violence. Why?

EXCERPT: . . . Yet we can’t let video games off the hook entirely. As the philosopher Morgan Luck pointed out in 2009, we’re still likely to be discomfited by certain kinds of virtual brutality: child abuse, torture, racism and sexual violence, to name just a handful of nasty examples. It’s not immediately clear whether this difference in disgust tracks anything of moral significance. After all, virtual sexual violence and virtual murder are alike in that they don’t involve real victims, and both would be uncontroversially wrong if done in real life. This creates what Luck called ‘the gamer’s dilemma’: how can we be so sanguine about virtual bloodletting, but react with appalled horror to the idea of simulated paedophilia or sexual violence?

Philosophers of art and culture have taken up this question. One option is simply to accept that these kinds of virtual immorality are morally equivalent. For example, we might wonder whether our intuitive response to virtual sexual violence is misguided. Or we might rethink our relatively blithe acceptance of non-sexual violence in video games; perhaps we should be just as appalled by virtual murder as by virtual sex crimes. Maybe my parents were right to be horrified at *Mortal Kombat* back in the early 1990s.

However, gaming isn’t unique in its obsession with violence, death and criminality: it’s everywhere. Tempting though it might be to blame it all on Hollywood, hip hop and HBO, this tendency is hardly new. In a classic 1944 essay, George Orwell bemoaned the fact that ‘a detective story not containing a murder has been a great rarity, and the most disgusting details of dismemberment and exhumation are commonly exploited’. Violence has gone hand in hand with entertainment from the dawn of Western literature [...]

Of course, this doesn’t mean that we’re all moral monsters. Even as entertainment has become more graphic in the past few decades, crime rates have fallen in most rich, industrialised countries. But the ubiquity of violence does show, I think, that violent video games are just a surface phenomenon that reflects a deeper, universal fascination with the extremes of human behaviour. [...]

Perhaps what underlies the gamer’s dilemma, then, is not some unique revulsion towards sexual crimes and child abuse...


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