Artificial intelligence used to be a thing people feared would take over the world and turn on humans, but these days AI has become part of our daily lives. You have Siri on your iPhone, and robots could even take over some mundane jobs to allow people to do more things they really enjoy. Now, an AI judge developed by University College London, the University of Sheffield, and the  University of Pennsylvania, has been able to accurately predict 79% of 584 human rights cases heard in the European Court of Human Rights.

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The AI judge is a machine learning algorithm which was developed to search for patterns in English language data which features articles of the European Convention on Human Rights:

  • Article 3: Torture and inhuman and degrading treatment;
  • Article 6: Right to a fair trail; and
  • Article 8: Right to a private and family life.

The lead scientist in the study, Dr. Nikolas Aletras said that the outcome of the study doesn’t mean that an AI judge is coming for your job, but that it would be useful for lawyers to use the data collected by the AI judge:

We don’t see an AI judge replacing judges or lawyers, but we think they’d find it useful for rapidly identifying patterns in cases that lead to certain outcomes. An AI judge could also be a valuable tool for highlighting which cases are most likely to be violations of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The findings on the AI judge system suggest that judges of the European Court of Human Rights make decisions based on non-legal facts rather than specific legal arguments. This suggests that real life judges are realists rather than formalists.

Would you trust an AI judge to hear real life human rights cases in the future and formulate judgments?

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