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Note: Stranger than Science Fiction: The Rise of A.I. Interrogation in the Dawn of Autonomous Robots and the Need for an Additional Protocol to the U.N. Convention Against Torture

By Amanda McAllister. Full text here.

As we approach the impending technological revolution of the proliferation of robots and weapons on the spectrum of autonomy, we run the risk of being “one technology behind” in anticipating the changing legal landscape in the next season of human-technology interaction. Specifically, the development and emergence of autonomous robots and weapons is likely to have a significant effect on the scope of current prohibitions against torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, where interrogation committed through the medium of autonomous robots would pose serious challenges to current international frameworks for imputing liability for complicity in torture.

This Note argues for a linguistic and rhetorical reexamination of the language of the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT) to make visible exploitable lacunae in the law upon integration of artificial intelligence in interrogation. This Note provides a theoretical critique of the language of the CAT in the context of the emerging rhetorical backdrop of posthumanism and, consequently, fundamentally altered constructions of certain legal language. Further, it proffers guidelines aimed at making the human rights treaty more buoyant in the tide of evolving understandings as to what it means to intend, to act, and to be human. As this technology is further developed and integrated, an analysis of the CAT in a broader context is imperative for ensuring the dignity and fundamental human rights of all persons to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.