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Fairness In The Court: How AI Can Help To Make Judges Less Biased


When your freedom or financial stability sits in the hands of a judge, you would hope that they will endeavor to be as fair-minded as possible in deciding your fate. However, judges are human. As such, they are prone to bouts of bias - both deliberate and inadvertent.

Though some cases of bias will be driven by factors such as your sexuality or the color of your skin, many more are caused by the judge's own actions. For instance, it is not at all uncommon for judges to fall victim to the gambler's fallacy. In practical terms, this means that judges who notice that they have handed down lenient sentences to their last five assault defendants may decide to deliver a harsher sentence to their next assault defendant so that they may break the trend.

In an effort to make courtrooms a more fair and equitable place, researcher Daniel L. Chen is looking into how artificial intelligence (AI) could be used to improve the judicial system. In his work, he has noticed that machine learning systems have the ability to make accurate predictions about the outcome of a trial before the judge has seen the facts of the case. In other words, judges seem to be basing their decisions on something other than the facts at hand - since they have not even seen them yet.

Chen suggests that AI can be used to not only spot these instances of bias but also to resolve them. He proposes that a machine learning algorithm can be used to study a judge's ruling and alert them to cases where they have a tendency to show bias. Once they know about the possibility of bias, the judge can then take action to prevent it. This action can be as simple as taking a few extra hours to study a case before making a decision or as complex as taking a training course to better understand the source of the bias.

Unfortunately, until a plan such as Chen's can be put into practice, courtrooms will remain imperfect. As such, you will need to have an experienced lawyer by your side to ensure that you receive a fair trial. Here at Shapiro Zwanetz & Lake, we have been helping people with their court cases for over 50 years - and we are ready to help you too. To schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, simply give us a call at (410) 927-5137.