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Scientists develop ‘AI prosecutor’ that can press charges against you

The technology can decide your fate with a 97 per cent accuracy, based on a verbal description of the case

In news that definitely doesn’t sound like a dystopian nightmare, researchers in China have developed a machine that can charge people with crimes using artificial intelligence.

The scientists claim the technology can decide on charges with more than 97 per cent accuracy, based on verbal descriptions of the case. The machine was built as a time-saving device and tested by the Shanghai Pudong People’s Procuratorate, the country’s busiest district prosecution office.

Trained using more than 17,000 cases dating 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, South China Morning Post reports.

So far, it can identify and press charges for Shanghai’s eight most common crimes; credit card fraud, running a gambling operation, dangerous driving, intentional injury, obstructing official duties, theft, fraud, and “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”.

The country has been trying to incorporate technologies such as AI and big data to transform the way its legal system works, establishing the country’s first ‘cyber court’ in 2017.

While an AI that slashes admin time is undoubtedly useful, recent developments with technology point to artificial intelligence having a flawed sense of morality. A tool trained on Reddit discourse, Wikipedia entries, and 63 million news articles recently warned its researchers that it will never be ethical. Meanwhile, machine learning software Ask Delphi – an ‘ethical’ AI that answers inputted moral quandaries – recently turned racist.