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Tim Wu on why 'free speech for computers' is dangerous

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Columbia Law professor Tim Wu argues that turning the First Amendment into a tool to protect automated search rankings or other commercial creations perverts its original intent.

google android search
google android search

We're a long ways from humanoid computers, but companies like Google have argued that their web tools deserve the same First Amendment protection as human speakers. Columbia Law professor Tim Wu argues that when Google defends its automated search rankings as a form of protected speech, it's creating a "formidable anti-regulatory tool" that overlooks the intent of the Bill of Rights: to protect human beings against governmental censorship or oppression. What's more, the "speech" of computers is arguably indistinguishable from their actions, he says. "Computers make trillions of invisible decisions each day; the possibility that each decision could be protected speech should give us pause." Wu, who coined the term "net neutrality" among other things, will also be on our show tonight, so make sure to stop by if you're in New York.