There’s nothing loljk about Microsoft’s teenage chatbot, Zo.
California governor Jerry Brown signed regulations into law last Friday (Sept. 30) that should make it easier for Californians to know whether they’re speaking to a human or a bot.
The new law goes into effect on July 1, 2019—Botageddon, as we’re going to call it—and could have far-reaching consequences for how automated systems communicate with people online. It will require companies to disclose whether they are using a bot to communicate with the public on the internet (something like “Hi, I’m a bot.”) A representative for California state senator Robert Hertzberg, who authored SB-1001, says the law specifically targets deceptive commercial and political bots, not those meant to help you, for example, pay a bill on a company’s website. Still, companies that have built their businesses around automated messaging and chatbots will in coming months need to figure out whether their approaches are compliant with the new law.
The bill also specifically defines online content as publicly-facing, which raises questions about whether bot-sent emails fall under the new law. Overall, Landers expects there will be a “lot of litigation” before the law is actually implemented.