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Computer 'judge' predicts court findings

AAP logoAAP 24/10/2016 John von Radowitz

A computer "judge" using artificial intelligence has correctly predicted verdicts of the European Court of Human Rights with 79 per cent accuracy.

Computer scientists devised a program that was able to weigh up legal evidence and moral questions of right and wrong.

The algorithm scoured English language data sets for 584 cases relating to torture and degrading treatment, fair trials and privacy. In each case, the program analysed the information and arrived at its own judicial decision.

In 79 per cent of cases, the AI verdict matched the one that was delivered by the court.

Lead researcher Dr Nikolaos Aletras, from University College London, said: "We don't see AI replacing judges or lawyers, but we think they'd find it useful for rapidly identifying patterns in cases that lead to certain outcomes.

"It could also be a valuable tool for highlighting which cases are most likely to be violations of the European Convention on Human Rights."

An equal number of "violation" and "non-violation" cases were chosen for the study.

Co-author Dr Dimitrios Tsarapatsanis, a law lecturer from the University of Sheffield, said: "The study, which is the first of its kind, corroborates the findings of other empirical work on the determinants of reasoning performed by high level courts.

"It should be further pursued and refined, through the systematic examination of more data."

The findings are published in the journal PeerJ Computer Science.

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