AI judges and verdicts via chat app: the brave new world of China’s digital courts

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Inside the Hangzhou Internet Court, litigants appear by video chat as an AI judge – complete with on-screen avatar – prompts them to present their cases

A ‘mobile court’ offered on popular Chinese social media platform WeChat has handled more than three million legal cases or other judicial procedures since its launch in March

Artificial-intelligence judges, cyber-courts, and verdicts delivered on chat apps — welcome to China’s brave new world of justice spotlighted by authorities this week.

China is encouraging digitisation to streamline case-handling within its sprawling court system using cyberspace and technologies like blockchain and cloud computing, China’s Supreme People’s Court said in a policy paper.

The efforts include a “mobile court” offered on popular social media platform WeChat that has already handled more than three million legal cases or other judicial procedures since its launch in March, according to the Supreme People’s Court.

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How to Upgrade Judges with Machine Learning

When should a criminal defendant be required to await trial in jail rather than at home? Software could significantly improve judges’ ability to make that call—reducing crime or the number of people stuck waiting in jail.

In a new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research, economists and computer scientists trained an algorithm to predict whether defendants were a flight risk from their rap sheet and court records using data from hundreds of thousands of cases in New York City. When tested on over a hundred thousand more cases that it hadn’t seen before, the algorithm proved better at predicting what defendants will do after release than judges.

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