Curtis Barnes

Director, Research Fellow


Curtis Barnes is a legal scholar with expertise in law and artificial intelligence,

Within New Zealand, he has an interest to promote rational technology policy, particularly in relation to energy and synthetic media. He co-authored one of the first major reports into how new audiovisual technologies or “synthetic media” interact with the law: artefacts like “deepfakes”, synthetic speech, and virtual reality.

Curtis’s earlier research looked at policy reform to improve access to justice, health, and human rights in personal injury systems. He has been Chair of the NZ Artificial Intelligence Forum Working Group on Law, Ethics and Society, is a fellow of the University Otago,

He is a research affiliate of the Centre for Law and Policy in Emerging Technologies, and the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Public Policy. He previously worked for the Department of Internal Affairs Policy Group.

Curtis earned bachelors and master’s degrees in law from the University of Otago. He received the degree of Master of Laws with Distinction for his thesis on the legal challenges of morally significant machines, canvassing legal theory of rights, personhood, and property alongside computer science paradigms of embodied cognition, intrinsic motivation, and neural networks.