It’s time for our justice system to embrace artificial intelligence

Liberal democracies long have struggled to minimize or eliminate elements of bias in their systems of criminal justice. Maybe justice is just too difficult for humans to administer alone. Thankfully, new advances in artificial intelligence could help to balance the scales. In some jurisdictions, basic AI-driven systems already help courts to assess various risks, from the likelihood that a defendant will skip bail to the likelihood that a potential parolee will reoffend. As these tools become more sophisticated, they have the potential to alleviate the massive congestion facing our state and federal justice systems, while improving fairness and safety. Of course, such developments are not without controversy. When computer algorithms serve to inform judges’ decisions, there are concerns about privacy, agency and accountability. While these issues deserve serious consideration, and in some cases may warrant new laws and regulations, they shouldn’t deter the development of systems with such enormous potential to produce better outcomes for society. Human judgment, human failings Professionals in the criminal justice system have a seemingly impossible task. They must weigh the probability that a criminal defendant will show up to trial, whether they are guilty, what the sentence should be, whether parole is deserved and what type of probation ought to be imposed.…

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