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Breaking bad news is one of the toughest things to do in any field dealing with client care. As automation and technology increasingly interweave with human experience, there is growing concern about whether automated agents (‘‘AAs”) would be adequate to perform such a complex emotional act. In this paper, I draw from the literature in psychology and computer science to understand how individuals might react to automated agents (AAs) and address some of the strengths and limitations of AAs. I raise several legal and empirical issues that future designers and users of AAs must consider, including disclosure of and liability for an AA’s presence.


Law & technology, automation of human service delivery, automated agents, legal practice, medical disclosures, liability, shooting the messenger, social psychology

Publication Title

Canadian+H2482 Journal of Law & Technology

Publication Citation

15 Can. J. L. & Tech. 109 (2017)