Tuesday, June 03, 2014

John Roberts: Umpire or Robot?


As we near the end of the Supreme Court Term, I was reminded of the outstanding We Robots 2014 Conference held at the University of Miami this past April. It featured a panel in which I commented on a paper by two very fine Canadian legal scholars, Ian Kerr and Carissima Mathen. The paper is entitled Chief Justice John Roberts is a Robot. Kerr and Mathen argued that robots, even robots who believe that they are human and who can successfully fool everyone the come in contact with about their humanity, cannot be judges. The video is here.  Like the real (non-robot) John Roberts, I demurred, arguing for a canon of avoidance.  Not surprisingly, there was considerable discussion of the Turing Test, and the conversation ranged widely over what it means to be a judge as well as a member of a community.

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