Robot judges: AI will replace judges and lawyers


The scales of justice

Lately, the alleged use of “judge-robot” software in China which appears to be able to perform the functions of a magistrate has aroused a lot of attention.


The announcement caused a stir and many news organizations reported on it. Some feared we were entering an Orwellian future.


Beyond sensationalism, the case undoubtedly deserves an in-depth study, to understand where technology is leading us. How our society will change.


What professions will disappear and what improvements we will have from these dramatic changes.




Some believe that artificial intelligence will be able to do the job of judges and lawyers. The argument is that software can do the work of paralegals and forensic researchers, and AI will be able to handle cases on its own.


The reasons why this theory has taken hold are many. First, AI is indeed capable of becoming more powerful.


Secondly, there are already examples of using AI in the legal field, such as the IBM Watson computer system to play Jeopardy.


Finally, many believe that the use of AI in the legal field is inevitable, given the advantages it offers over humans.



The scales of justice

The use of AI in the legal arena has several potential benefits.


– It is capable of processing a large amount of data quickly and accurately. This is important because the law is becoming more and more complex and judges and lawyers need to be able to sift through mountains of information to find the relevant elements.


– Second, AI can provide impartial decision-making. This is important because humans are often biased in their decisions, both consciously and unconsciously.


Therefore, every emotional and prejudicial aspect would be removed from the definitive sentences in the various degrees of judgment.


– Third, AI can help ensure consistent enforcement of the law. This is important because there is currently a large variation in the way the law is interpreted and applied by different judges and lawyers.


– Fourth, AI can help reduce the cost of legal services. This is important because legal services are currently very expensive and many people cannot afford them.


– Finally, it should be added that such systems would be cheaper to start with a simple legal opinion.


Supporting in an entire lawsuit would then result in faster and simpler steps instead of the very expensive fees that some lawyers present.




The use of AI in the legal field will also create new jobs. For example, there will be a need for people to develop and maintain AI systems. Additionally, there will be a need for people to interpret the AI system’s decisions and provide training to users.


In conclusion, the use of AI in the legal field is inevitable and will bring a number of benefits. However, we must pay attention to how we use it, to ensure that its advantages are maximized and disadvantages are minimized.



The scales of justice

The machine will not be tired, will not ask for a coffee break, and will not be distracted by a ringing phone or someone entering the room. It will work simply by someone questioning this super software about a case and AI will answer.


Something similar to how IBM Watson already works: a computer system designed to answer questions asked in natural language, developed as part of IBM’s DeepQA project by a research group led by David Ferrucci.


Watson is named after IBM founder Thomas J. Watson. The computer system was initially developed to answer questions from the game show Jeopardy!


In 2011, Watson participated in Jeopardy against former winners Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings, winning the $1 million first prize.


Since then, IBM has announced that Watson will be applied to help diagnose disease, assist financial analysts, and create recommendations for consumers, among other things only humans could do previously.


But in the case of justice, it will be even simpler, because the algorithm will have to refer only to the laws in force.


However complex they may be, all the rules and quibbles for a typical lawyer or judge. For an artificial machine, it will be child’s play to go through all the laws from time to time and make a decision based on them.


There will be more difficult cases. In the beginning, there will be human support, as in many sectors where a transition to technology is experienced.



Female lawyers discussing a case

There is software created by researchers of the Chinese Academy of Science: it can draw on an archive of about 17 thousand cases, dating back to the period between 2015 and 2020, analyzing them to reach its conclusion.

According to Professor Shi Yong, director of the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Big Data and Knowledge Management Laboratory, he and his colleagues in a paper published in the peer-reviewed Management Review:

“To some extent, the system can replace the attorney.”

According to Shi Yong and his colleagues, the software would also be able to provide a solution with 97% accuracy.

However, the program was limited to eight of the most frequent and serious crimes, such as credit card fraud, illegal betting, dangerous driving, intentional assault, obstruction of public activities, theft, and fraud in general.

According to the designers of the system, the software was designed to assist judicial decision-making by reducing the workload of a judge in a prosecutor’s office like Shanghai Pudong, who has to handle many cases.

Of course, this is just one example and it is not yet clear how soon this or similar systems will be put into operation in China or elsewhere.

It is foreseeable that in the future these systems will become more and more precise and perhaps even infallible.

In any case, it is already clear that the decision-making power of machines will increase exponentially in the next few years and that they will increasingly enter sectors that have until now been considered the exclusive domain of man.

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