Scientists in China have reportedly built a machine ‘prosecutor’ that uses artificial intelligence to press charges. Researchers claim that the system is capable of filing charges with 97% accuracy if given an oral account.
The machine was ‘trained’ using information compiled from more than 17,000 cases from 2015 to 2020 and can correctly file charges for Shanghai’s eight most common crimes, including credit card fraud, theft, and “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,”Research published in Management Review this month by peer-review journal Management Review.
The AI prosecutor was developed and tested by the Shanghai Pudong People’s Procuratorate, China’s biggest and busiest district prosecution office, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported. According to the newspaper, the AI prosecutor could run on any computer with a web browser.
It works by identifying and pressing charges against a suspect based on 1,000 ‘traits’ obtained from the case description text that is fed to the machine. Many of the text in this case description text are either too tiny or too complex to be understood by people.
According to the project’s lead scientist, Shi Yong, the system can potentially shoulder the prosecutors’ daily workload and free them up to focus on more demanding tasks. Shi and his team at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ big data and knowledge management laboratory noted that the tech would soon get upgrades to become powerful enough to recognize less common crimes and file multiple charges against a suspect.
To a limited extent, the system may replace prosecutors in decision-making.
Chinese prosecutors began using AI in 2016, the SCMP noted, adding that many attorneys now use an AI tool known as ‘System 206’ that assesses the strength of evidence, arrest conditions, and even examines how much danger a suspect poses to the public.
Researchers however, stated that AI tools are limited in their use since. “they do not participate in the decision-making process of filing charges and [suggesting] sentences.” Such decisions would need the machine to translate complex language into a mathematical format that can be understood by a computer – without losing relevant information in the conversion process.
SCMP was told by a Guangzhou-based prosecution that the majority of prosecutors didn’t want computer scientists “meddling”Legal judgments are important because of the high stakes and potential for error.
“Who will take responsibility when [a mistake] happens? The prosecutor, the machine or the designer of the algorithm?”They were curious.
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