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Can a robot judge make a fair verdict?

A judge's gavel rests on top of a desk in the courtroom.
A judge's gavel rests on top of a desk in the courtroom.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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Artificial intelligence is surfacing in government roles.

In Estonia, a “robot judge” is being designed to settle small claims disputes of roughly $8,000 or less. The same team is hoping to use AI to work through a backlog of cases for court clerks and judges. Although the project is still in development, the goal is to allow both parties to provide documents and information and have AI make the final decision. A human judge will then have the ability to appeal the decision.

So does AI have a potential role in government? Would the U.S. consider implementing AI in judicial decisions? We discuss.


Daniel Ho, professor of law at Stanford and faculty affiliate of the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence; he is a co-instructor of Administering by Algorithm: Artificial Intelligence in the Regulatory State, a policy lab focusing on the role of AI in government