April 13, 2021

Computer-Judge Finds You Guilty


Computer-Judge Finds You Guilty
Do robots count as a jury of your peers? AlejandroLinaresGarcia, Wikimedia Commons

No one ever accused the Russian legal system of being overly human. And with recent advances in artificial intelligence, we're not optimistic for the future.

Russian authorities under the Ministry of Economic Development are reportedly undertaking research to make laws that computers can understand and, by extension, adjudicate. By turning statutes into mathematical algorithms, proponents say, computers can decide on court decisions without bias.

Supporters say that automated judicial proceedings will keep down costs for taxpayers and defendants, since they won't have to hire lawyers or pay judges. This camp also argues that, since machines are impartial, they'll provide valuable oversight to government activities (we aren't holding our breath).

Other limbs of the Russian state are interested in similar software, which could help automate regulations and control. The organization developing the programs, a working group formed by government ministries, stresses that this is only a "10-20% increase in automation" over current activities.

Fortunately, cold robo-Revizors aren't a reality just yet, but cyberpunk dystopia seems close already: the Ministry has been handed preliminary data, so we could be protesting traffic tickets to computers in the not-too-distant future. Next Sunday, AD, perhaps?

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