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China Creates AI Prosecutor That Can Identify Crimes And Press Charges

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Monday, Dec 27, 2021 - 09:20 PM

Unfortunately, this isn't a joke.

China's Communist-controlled government has reportedly developed an artificial intelligence program that can automatically prosecute crimes committed in the People's Republic, according to a report in the state-friendly South China Morning Post, an English-language, Hong Kong-based newspaper.

The machine can reliably identify eight common crimes such as fraud, gambling, dangerous driving and "picking quarrels", according to researchers cited by the paper.

The AI "prosecutor" can file a charge with more than 97% accuracy based on a verbal description of the case alone.

To be sure, that's not exactly a testament to the algorithm's complexity or quality: China's criminal justice system is notoriously opaque, with courts that have been criticized for being hopelessly slanted in favor of the government. The country's prosecutors have also been criticized for charging those suspected of political disloyalty with criminal offenses like tax evasion.

Recently, China kicked off a transnational dispute with Canada after it arrested two Canadian nationals (a diplomat and a businessman) and sentenced them to lengthy prison sentences over charges that the Canadian government alleges were trumped-up - before being abruptly released once Ottawa had freed the CFO of Huawei after she reached a deal with the American Justice Department. 

The prosecution machine was built and tested by the Shanghai Pudong People’s Procuratorate, the country’s largest, and busiest, district prosecution office.

"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 domestic peer-reviewed journal Management Review.

According to the SCMP, China isn't the first country to automate some aspects of prosecution.

The application of AI technology in law enforcement has been increasing around the world.

Some German prosecutors have used AI technology such as image recognition and digital forensics to increase case processing speed and accuracy.

China's legal system was an "early adopter".

The application of AI technology in law enforcement has been increasing around the world.

Some German prosecutors have used AI technology such as image recognition and digital forensics to increase case processing speed and accuracy.

China was an early adopter of AI in its legal system, beginning in 2016. Many prosecutors now use an AI tool called "System 206". The tool can purportedly evaluate the strength of evidence, as well as conditions for an arrest - while also assessing the subject's danger to the public. But all existing AI tools have a limited role, because "they do not participate in the decision-making process of filing charges and [suggesting] sentences."

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