China committed to applying AI in judicial work

Updated 2017-07-31 09:09:03 Global Times

Artificial intelligence (AI) will be used more frequently to assist judicial officials in China for investigation and making decisions, in a bid to promote justice and improve judicial efficiency.

AI will change the litigation procedure and also change judges' mode of making decisions, He Fan, head of the judicial reform office of China's Supreme People's Court, said at a conference held Friday in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province, thepaper.cn reported.

"Judges previously had to make decisions according to what they see and hear at courts and based on their understanding of laws, but now they can use AI to assist their work," said He at the conference, adding that an ideal mode is the "206 project," a smart system to assist criminal case investigations, which so far has been adopted in Shanghai for a two-month trial.

He explained that the system can provide suggestions to investigators based on analysis combining all the data stored at police bureaus, courts and procuratorates, according to the report.

"For example, when a police officer wants to arrest a criminal suspect, the AI system can automatically remind him that three pieces of key evidence are missing and another two pieces of evidence have flaws; if a procurator wants to file a lawsuit, the system might say that 80 percent of similar cases cannot be brought to charge," said He.

By the end of June, the 206 project had recorded 60 cases and a total of 19,316 pieces of evidence, provided evidence guidance on more than 2,000 occasions, and found a total of 48 flawed evidences, according to the website of the Shanghai High People's Court.

The AI involvement in the judicial system will help promote judicial fairness and equity, but the proportion of AI input and human judgment should be well balanced, Zhang Jianwei, a law professor with Tsinghua University, told the Global Times.

"It is true that AI can assist judicial procedure, but it is merely a kind of auxiliary technology that cannot dominate the judicial decision-making," said Zhang.

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