Researchers Claim to Have Developed Artificial Intelligence Capable of Replacing Criminal Prosecutors

Researchers in China claim to have developed an advanced AI that is reportedly capable of identifying crimes and filing charges against those suspected of committing them.

There is no denying that advancements in artificial intelligence are being made at breakneck speeds and that many of us will one day lose our jobs to a tireless machine, but I doubt anyone imagined prosecutors would find their jobs threatened by machines anytime soon. And yet, if Chinese researchers are to be believed, there is already an AI system that can replace human prosecutors “to a certain extent” and file a charge with over 97 percent accuracy, based on a description of a suspected criminal case.

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The controversial AI was developed by a team led by Professor Shi Yong, director of the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ big data and knowledge management laboratory. They claim that the machine can determine a crime and file a charge solely based on a verbal description of what happened, thus being able to “replace prosecutors in the decision-making process to a certain extent”.

In order to bring the AI program to a level where it can file charges with such impressive accuracy, researchers spent five years between 2015 and 2020 training it using over 17,000 different criminal cases. The unnamed AI bot can reportedly charge suspects using 1,000 different “traits” derived from human-described case documentations.

The South China Morning Post reports that the advanced AI program can be used to charge suspects with some of the most common felonies, including fraud, theft, dangerous driving, obstructions of justice, running illegal gambling operations, and more. In time, the team hopes to improve the AI, allowing it to complete more complex tasks like recognizing uncommon crimes and filing multiple charges against a single suspect.

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Despite its already impressive achievements, the AI prosecutor is already considered a controversial project by both experts and the general public. One major concern is AI bias, which plays a massive role in determining the outcome of various things. All you have to do is feed the machine biased information and you end up with a flawed AI that makes all sorts of questionable decisions.

Legal experts are also wondering who will take responsibility if the AI ever makes a mistake. Despite its impressive 97 percent charging accuracy, there is always a risk of a mistake, and no one really knows who will be blamed.

“Who will take responsibility when it happens? The prosecutor, the machine or the designer of the algorithm?” a lawyer who preferred to stay anonymous told SCMP.

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