Researchers in China claim they have achieved a world first by developing a machine that can charge people with crimes using artificial intelligence.
The dystopian machine can identify ‘dissent’ against the state and suggest sentences for apparent criminals.
The researchers claim that the AI “prosecutor” can decide on charges with more than 97 per cent accuracy based on a verbal description of the case.
There are fears however that the machine, which was built and tested by the Shanghai Pudong People’s Procuratorate, could be weaponised by the state
MSN reports: So far, it can identify and press charges for Shanghai’s eight most common crimes, including credit card fraud, theft, dangerous driving and picking quarrels – an offence often used against dissidents.
The technology was trained using more than 17,000 cases from 2015 to 2020. It can run on a desktop computer and decides whether to press a charge by analysing hundreds of “traits” obtained from a human-generated case description, according to a report in the South China Morning Post.
Once charges are brought they are almost guaranteed to end in conviction, as China’s acquittal rate is less than one per cent.
The project’s lead scientist, Professor Shi Yong, director of the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ big data and knowledge management laboratory, said the machine could free up prosecutors to focus on more difficult tasks.
“The system can replace prosecutors in the decision-making process to a certain extent,” said Shi and his colleagues in a paper published this month in the Chinese peer-reviewed journal Management Review.
China has already been trying to incorporate technologies such as AI and big data to transform the way its legal system works.
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