The Supreme Court of Beijing titles that artificial intelligence has been incorporated into every aspect of China’s legal system and plays a part in each and every decision. “The smart courts SoS (system of the system) now connects to every working judge across China,” stated Xu Jianfeng. He made the remarks in a report published Tuesday in Strategic Studies of CAE. The official journal of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. Machine learning technology powers the system which automatically checks court cases for references and recommends laws and regulations. It also drafts legal documents, corrects human errors, and even alters a verdict if there are any.
According to the journal report, AI has reduced the average workload of a judge by more than a third and saved Chinese citizens 1.7 million working hours between 2019 and 2021. The journal report also stated that society had saved more than 300 billion yuan (US$45 trillion) over the same time period. This is roughly half of all Chinese lawyers’ fees last year. Xu and his co-workers said that the wide application of smart courts has been a ground-breaking engineering project. Some judges believe that AI is not always welcomed in court. The smart court system began as nothing more than a database six years ago. Its usage of it in the decision-making process has increased recently, nevertheless. A judge must consult AI in every case, as mandated by the supreme court. In the event that the court disapproves of the machine’s recommendation, the machine wants a written justification for auditing and records.
The artificial intelligence may choose less appropriate reference material or law for the case, but according to critics, judges follow the AI recommendation to avoid the hassle of disputing the technology. In a piece that was recently published in the Chinese-language journal Legality Vision, judge Sun Yubao of the People’s Court of Yangzhou Economic and Technological Development Zone in Jiangsu province said, “It is too early to pitch the smart court system as a cure.” “We need to defend the position of a judge and lower the public’s excessive expectations of artificial intelligence. AI is limited in its abilities, he wrote. Although there are major variances in regional development, government, and income, the supreme court uses AI to bring the rule of law across a large portion of China.
Each municipal court created and maintained its own information system before 2016. The judges hardly ever discussed their cases with Beijing or other courts. Every local court was required by the national smart court system to digitize all of its papers and link its database to a central “brain” in Beijing. The AI reads, analyses, and picks up knowledge from close to 100,000 cases around the country every day, according to the supreme court report, while also monitoring each case’s development for any signs of malpractice or corruption. According to Xu’s team, AI had a significant impact outside of the courtroom as well. The sophisticated judicial system now has direct access to the vast database that is kept by the police, the prosecution, and some government organizations thanks to new information portals.
Chinese courts’ shortage of staff has always been a problem with regard to enforcing judgments. The court’s AI responds to it by quickly locating and confiscating a convict’s property and auctioning it off online. Professor of law at the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, Zhang Linghan, issued a dire warning about the possibility of a future in which machines rule over people. According to Zhang, China’s AI reform wants to lessen judicial discretion, or the ability of a human judge to make a judgment based on their unique assessment, experience, and training.
To a certain extent, this might increase effectiveness and justice, but she claimed in a study that was published on Sunday in the domestic peer-reviewed journal Law and Social Development that “people would progressively lose free will with an increasingly dependent on technology.” The smart court system, created with the active participation of China’s digital behemoths, would also give a select group of technical specialists who wrote the code, created the algorithms, or oversaw the database far too much power. She continued, “We must be aware of the loss of judicial power by technological firms and money.
According to allegations in the official Chinese media, AI is being used by the police to expedite criminal investigations. According to academics working on the project, an AI prosecutor has begun accusing human suspects of crimes in certain major cities like Shanghai. Zero Trust, an anti-corruption AI created by the Chinese Academy of Sciences to track the social connections of government personnel, has been implemented in some cities, sparking fierce opposition from local authorities.