Robot Law

Robot Law

Edited by Ryan Calo, A. Michael Froomkin and Ian Kerr

Robot Law brings together exemplary research on robotics law and policy – an area of scholarly inquiry responding to transformative technology. Expert scholars from law, engineering, computer science and philosophy provide original contributions on topics such as liability, warfare, domestic law enforcement, personhood, and other cutting-edge issues in robotics and artificial intelligence. Together the chapters form a field-defining look at an area of law that will only grow in importance.

Chapter 12: Examining the constitutionality of robot-enhanced interrogation

Kristen Thomasen

Subjects: innovation and technology, technology and ict, law - academic, internet and technology law, law and society, legal philosophy, legal theory, public international law, terrorism and security law, politics and public policy, public policy, terrorism and security


The combination of human-computer interaction (“HCI”) technology with sensors that monitor human physiological responses offers state agencies improved methods for extracting truthful information from suspects during interrogations. These technologies have recently been implemented in prototypes of automated kiosks, which allow an individual to interact with an avatar interrogator. The HCI system uses a combination of visual, auditory, infrared and other sensors to monitor a suspect’s eye movements, voice, and various other qualities throughout an interaction. The information is then aggregated and analyzed to determine whether the suspect is being deceptive. This chapter argues that this type of application poses serious risks to individual rights such as privacy and the right to silence. The study concludes by suggesting that courts, developers, and state agencies institute limits on how and what information this emerging technology can collect from the humans who engage with it.

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