Algorithms vs. The Court

Title: Artificial intelligence prevails at predicting Supreme Court decisions

Link: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/05/artificial-intelligence-prevails-predicting-supreme-court-decisions

Reputability statement: Science is the peer-reviewed journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Science has an extremely high impact factor (34.661) which indicates a high number of citations of the journal as a whole. Science has a 7% acceptance rate and many articles are game-changing in their respective fields.

Comments: The idea of a machine determining the outcome of a court case is fascinating. I think the magic here is “precedent”, a key component of our judicial system. This algorithm works by looking at Supreme Court cases dating back to 1791 – much more data than a single human can process. While predicting a Supreme Court case might be a bit difficult due to their unprecedented nature, these algorithms can be used to predict lower court case outcomes with all the data available.

The use of machines in the court of law have positives and benefits. The positive is that a computer can process a lot more data than a human. Artificial intelligence can find an obscure case that can be used as a precedent that a judge might have missed. On the opposite shoulder, a core tenet of our judicial system is built on the human factor of these cases –concepts of empathy and emotion that a computer cannot replicate. We must also think about the benefits of this for the private sector and lawyers. Imagine if insurance companies had the ability to predict a lawsuit before it even happened – would this change the pricing a policy?