Scientists develop AI 'judge' that can parse and give verdicts on legal cases

The honorable judge #723 presiding

Scientists and engineers have created an artificially intelligent algorithm that can parse through legal documents and determine what the likely outcome of a trial will be. In other words, robots aren’t here just to take over our jobs, they’re here to send us to jail as well.

British scientists at UCL developed the algorithm and taught it to understand legalese by feeding the software previous human rights cases. Out of nearly 600 cases involving human rights, torture, privacy and fair trials, the program made the same judicial decisions as the human judges in 79% of cases.

If there are any officers of the court feeling a bit nervous about job security right now, there is some good news. Dr Nikolaos Aletras, lead researcher on the project, explained:

We don’t see AI replacing judges or lawyers, but we think they’d find it useful for rapidly identifying patterns in cases that lead to certain outcomes. It could also be a valuable tool for highlighting which cases are most likely to be violations of the European convention on human rights.

The impressive aspect of the AI “judge” is that the software developed by University College London doesn’t just parse words or phrases, but it looks for patterns and concepts. Indeed, a study involving this software and the European court of human rights, proved that the court’s judgements strongly correlated with the language, topics and circumstances mentioned in the case texts and not necessarily with the legal arguments.

While software such as this is unlikely to truly replace human lawyers and judges, at least in the immediate future, it may help expedite trials and ease the work that goes into them.

Source: The Guardian

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