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AI and predictive justice in Europe

AI and predictive justice in Europe
By Euronews
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Artificial intelligence is already at work in the US judicial system, European countries are in a testing phase, but many ethical questions arise when algorithms are used in a legal setting.


Imagine a trial where judges are replaced by robots. In Europe this is not completely reality but neither is it is not totally fiction.

Technological development can help the world of justice by analysing information and helping decision-making.

The Council of Europe has therefore established the first charter for the use of artificial intelligence in the judicial world. The risks of predictive justice remain significant.

"Artificial intelligence is used to detecte the risk of, the dangerosity of a personne. Through analysing a series of decisions again and data it will be able to tell you if a person is at low risk, medium risk or high risk of recidivism. This is also used in determining the duration of prison sentences," explains Clementina Barbaro, Head of Unit, Judicial Reform Co-operation, Council of Europe.

According to Clementina Barbaro and other experts AI exacerbates discrimination in court cases, making justice harder to obtain. It doesn't take in to account personal factors such as the deprived status of some of those accused, level of education, employed or not, level of income or where he/she lives.

A recent study from University College London found that computers were able to predict over 500 decisions from the European Court of human rights with 79% accuracy. Former judge Dr Dory Reiling wonders how accurate can we consider 79%. And she raises concerns about legitimacy.

"Once people start using artificial intelligence and they will expect the outcomes to actually predict what the judges are going to do. And so if judges do not perform according to the expectations raised by the artificial intelligence that will be a legitimacy problem for the court," says Dr Reiling.

If "robot lawyers" are already at work in the US, European countries at still in test. But many of them are now developing the use of AI in their judicial system.

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