A Paris court has convicted US search engine giant Google and its chief executive Eric Schmidt of defamation over results from its “suggest” function, a French legal affairs website has revealed.
The new function, which suggests options as you type in a word, brought up the words “rapist” and “satanist” when the plaintiff’s name was typed into the search engine, legalis.net reported.
The court concluded that the search engine’s linking his name to such words was defamatory.
A Google spokesman told AFP by email that they would be appealing the ruling.
The statement said that the Google Suggest function simply reflected the most common terms used in the past with words entered, so it was not Google itself that was making the suggestions.
Now this is interesting, Google are correct that they are not manually making the suggestions. But a machine they programmed is. Where does the accountability for the suggestions it makes lie? You can’t sue a machine, or in the future maybe you can?
But does this mean that a machine that is artificially intelligent and makes money for you really makes money for itself? And if it gets sued then the money that it has made can be used to pay court costs? Can a machine be represented in court by a lawyer?