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China uses AI to ‘improve’ courts – with computers ‘correcting alleged human errors in a verdict’ and forcing JUDGES to submit written statement to MACHINE if they disagree
- China has been developing a ‘smart court’ system since at least 2016, aiming to increase the ‘fairness, efficiency and credibility’ of its judges
- Artificial intelligence now helps run courts, top judges said this week
- AI proposes new law, drafts legal documents and changes ‘perceived human error’
- In any case, judges must consult the AI and if they reject the recommendation of the machine, they must provide a written statement
China uses artificial intelligence to “improve” its justice system by recommending laws, drafting documents and warning “perceived human error” in rulings.
Judges are now required by law to consult the AI in every case, the Beijing Supreme Court said in an update on the system published this week, and if they go against the recommendation, they must provide a written explanation as to why.
The AI is also linked to police databases and China’s Orwellian social credit system, giving it the power to punish people, for example by automatically putting a thief’s property up for sale online.
Beijing has praised the new technology for making “a significant contribution to the judicial advancement of human civilization” — while critics say it risks creating a world in which humans are ruled by machines.
China has connected artificial intelligence to its ‘smart court’ system – allowing it to make rulings, legislate and charge people with crimes (pictured, a Chinese court during Covid)
China has been developing a ‘smart court’ system since at least 2016, when Chief Justice Qiang Zhou called for using technology to improve the ‘fairness, efficiency and credibility’ of the justice system.
That meant introducing robotic receptionists at courthouses to provide legal assistance online, automatic speech recognition recorders in courtrooms that eliminate the need for transcribing, and ‘virtual courtrooms’ where cases can be handled online.
China has even introduced a highly specialized ‘internet court’ that deals exclusively with cases related to the virtual world – such as online loans, domain name disputes and copyright issues.
It has led to the creation of huge databases in which information on all cases – almost 100,000 per day – is uploaded.
Artificial intelligence is now plugged into those databases with the goal of learning from those cases and then spitting out judgments and recommendations for new laws based on what it finds.
Beijing says the system will make justice fairer and faster, but critics say it threatens to create a world where humans are ruled by the machine (file image)
Rather than just collecting data, it means the AI is now making decisions on behalf of judges who will be held accountable if they want to ignore it.
An AI prosecutor has even started indicting people in Shanghai for crimes he says they have committed South China Morning Mail reports.
And by linking the AI to China’s social credit system, it can punish people who refuse to abide by judgments — such as barring a person who refuses to pay a fine for buying plane or train tickets.
Zhang Linghan, a law professor at the China University of Political Science and Law, warned that the rapid rise of AI risks creating a world where humans are ruled by machines.
“Man will gradually lose free will with increasing reliance on technology,” she argued in a recently published article online.
“We need to be alert to the erosion of the judiciary by technology companies and capital,” she added.