China is piloting the use of “case management robots” to do legal work

Artificial intelligence can bring about greater efficiency but may not improve the rule of law.

By Yeo Kaiqi | August 7, 2017

We have all read about how artificial intelligence has become a massive threat to jobs, but we do not know for sure how soon it will become a reality.

In Jiangsu, China, the day when specialised work done by humans in the past are taken over by robots may not be far away.

According to Xinhua News, the use of robots are now being piloted in Jiangsu People’s Procuratorate to help in the work of prosecution and investigation.

These “Case Management Robots” are also called “Smart Aide System for Investigations”.  With its huge database of information, which include standard operating procedures, statutes and legislation and precedents, it can assist investigators and prosecutors by identifying gaps in information and investigative practices, as well as give recommendations on sentencing, generate arrest warrant documents, and approve indictments.

In addition, it can also send alerts, predict criminal trends and rate the overall workflow on case-handling, thus eliminating the hassle of a manual process. Human errors are also reduced as a result.

Standing at about three-feet tall with faces on screens, these robots are now assisting seven city governments and 34 lower-level authorities in Jiangsu.

Since its launch in April this year, they have reviewed over 14,000 cases, detected over 7,000 human errors in investigative work, and sent alerts to procurators with 100% accuracy.

So far, most of the cases that these robots have handled are traffic violations, but the team of inventors are now further refining the technology to improve its range of services.

However, despite such technological advancements that will bring about greater efficiency, China’s legal system continues to be heavily criticised for its lack of independence (its “rule by law” instead of “rule of law” characteristics), as laws are subordinate to the ruling Chinese Party Communist Party’s rules and discretion.

But for what it’s worth, you can take a closer look at these “case management robots” in this promotional video:

Top image via Jiangsu Provincial People’s Procuratorate

About Yeo Kaiqi

Kaiqi believes she's the reincarnation of ancient China's royalty. When she's not deluded, she behaves like a cat hoping to conquer the internet.

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