China develops AI prosecutor that can charge people with 97% accuracy 6 months ago

China develops AI prosecutor that can charge people with 97% accuracy

Not even a foot into 2022 yet and we're going all RoboCop dystopia

Scientists in China have apparently developed an AI prosecutor that is deemed able to accurately charge people for crimes with 97 per cent precision.


As per the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the project was pioneered by the Shanghai Pudong People's Procuratorate (essentially, the legal office within the municipality of Shanghai) and is trained to identify the culprit(s) in Shanghai's eight most common crimes.


Developed by the research team led by Professor Shi Yong, director of the Chinese Academy of Sciences' big data and knowledge management laboratory, this AI prosecutor is able to charge individuals based on verbal descriptions of cases.

This is the first such machine-learning programme to be used in the judicial system and while it cannot "participate in the decision-making process of filing charges and suggesting sentences" (not yet, at least), it is being used to help assess evidence, as well as scan and sort through paperwork more quickly.

The purpose of the invention was to help prosecutors get through their heavy case loads but while it is said to be able to "replace prosectors in the decision-making process to a certain extent", this is not the intended goal.

Naturally, as is often the case when it comes to interaction between humans and technology, the problem of human error, subjectivity, language and intelligence are all significant roadblocks that would prevent this AI prosecutor from being used as the sole decider in sentencing.


The technology itself was built using an existing AI tool known as System 206, which has been trained using more than 17,000 human-generated case files since 2015.

The SCMP goes on to report that as well as having already been used in processing cases since 2016, it is able to identify criminals involved in credit card fraud, gambling, reckless driving, international assault, theft, fraud and obstructing an officer.

Most interestingly however, the AI prosecutor is also said to be able to identify those guilty of "political dissent" - a problematic issue given the People's Republic of China is currently under communist rule, where freedom of expression and speech is a growing concern.

On Wednesday, an independent news outlet in Hong Kong was shut down and its senior staff arrested after it was accused of "conspiracy to publish seditious publications".


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