Scientific researches show that computer software can predict judges’ verdicts
A breakthrough study by a group of British scientists says that artificial intelligence (AI) could be used to predict the outcome of trials. The research was published in PeerJ Computer Science.
The software is able to weigh up legal evidence and moral questions of right and wrong, and has been devised by computer scientists at University College London, and used to accurately predict the result in hundreds of real life cases.
The AI “judge” has reached the same verdicts as judges at the European Court of Human Rights in almost four in five cases involving torture, degrading treatment and privacy. The algorithm examined English language data sets for 584 cases relating to torture and degrading treatment, fair trials and privacy. In each case, the software analysed the information and made its own judicial decision.
Dr Nikolaos Aletras, the lead researcher from UCL’s department of computer science, said: “We don’t see AI replacing judges or lawyers, but we think they’d find it useful for rapidly identifying patterns in cases that lead to certain outcomes. It could also be a valuable tool for highlighting which cases are most likely to be violations of the European convention on human rights.”
Dr Vasileios Lampos, a UCL computer scientist, added: “Previous studies have predicted outcomes based on the nature of the crime or the policy position of each judge, so this is the first time judgments have been predicted using analysis of text prepared by the court.
“We expect this sort of tool would improve efficiencies of high-level, in-demand courts, but, to become a reality, we need to test it against more articles and the case data submitted to the court.”