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Chinese courts use artificial intelligence to resolve cases

Chinese companies are driving the development of the Artificial intelligence (AI), and the Chinese government, in turn, is actively supporting those industries and investing in AI; in fact, it is interested in using these achievements to digitize various branches of the State.

In Chinese courts, AI is already involved in decision-making. A Hangzhou court, for example, uses an assistant judge called Xiao Zhi 3.0, or “Little Wisdom.”

In the beginning, Xiao Zhi 3.0 took care of repetitive tasks, such as announcing the rights and obligations of the parties. Now, which is used in processes for simple economic issues, it records testimonials with voice recognition, analyzes case materials and verifies the information in databases in real time. A Suzhou court applied similar technology in traffic accident litigation, where the AI ​​assistant examined the evidence and rendered the verdicts, saving 80% of the judge’s time.

The Xiao Baogong intelligent sentence prediction system, another AI, is also used by judges and prosecutors in Criminal Law. The application can suggest penalties based on the analysis of big data of the information of the case, and in previous judgments of similar cases. “One of the challenges of Chinese criminal justice is to ensure uniformity. They want to make sure that in different regions of China the penalties are consistent with each other,” Dr. Shitong Qiao, a professor of law at Duke Law School, told DW.

Not everyone is ready for AI in court

AI-based solutions are already applied in the legal systems of many countries, especially to optimize the databases and make them more accessible. However, only a few countries are prepared to go further. France, for example, banned any development of AI-based predictive litigation in 2019, arguing, among other things, the risk of data commercialization.

This concern is reasonable, since courts do not have the ability to develop AI themselves. The process is outsourced to private technology companies. “The motivations of these companies are different from those of public institutions. So how to make sure that the process is responsible, that the data itself is not biased, that the algorithms are fair is a fundamental challenge not only for China, but for the whole world,” Qiao said.

Doubts about impartial decisions

In China, citizens can use smartphones to file a complaint, follow the progress of the case or communicate with the judge. The AI-based machines offer, among other things, legal consultations, register cases and generate legal documents 24 hours a day. They can even predict the probability of success or failure of a trial.

However, there are questions about the reliability of the system. Dr. Zhiyu Li, Associate Professor of Law and Politics at Durham University, told DW that after interviews with litigants it was found that they “are quite skeptical about the reliability and usefulness of predictions” because they are mainly based on “in responses to multiple-choice questions and not in face-to-face and interactive communications”.

Another problem is that AI systems are developed on top of an incomplete public record. It is due to the uneven digitization of information in the regions of China. In addition, the government has been caught removing cases from the databases. The case of a kidnapped woman in Xuzhou made this clear. Public opinion was outraged by the number of similar cases and inadequate sentences they found on the China Judgments website. After a service interruption, the cases disappeared. It seems doubtful that an AI system based on fragmentary data can make an unbiased decision. (YO)

Source: Eluniverso


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