For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Should Robots Prosecute and Defend"

by Henderson, S E (2019)


Even when we achieve the 'holy grail' of artificial intelligence-machine intelligence that is at least as smart as a human being in every area of thought-there may be classes of decisions for which it is intrinsically important to retain a human in the loop. On the common account ofAmerican criminal adjudication, the role of prosecutor seems to include such decisions given the largely unreviewable declination authority, whereas the role of defense counsel would seem fully susceptible of automation. And even for the prosecutor, the benefits of automation might outweigh the intrinsic decision-making loss, given that the ultimate decision-by judge or jury should remain a human (or at least rolereversible) one. Thus, while many details need to be worked out, we might within decades have a criminal justice system consisting of robo-defense lawyers and robo-prosecutors. And even ifwe never do, their consideration provides another lens through which to consider these roles and, ultimately, our criminal justice system.

Key Passage

When we put aside speciesism and appreciate the massive injustices in our systems of criminal justice, we can't help being excited about the positive changes artificial general intelligence might permit. Yes, some attorneys-maybe even many or most attorneys-might have to find different jobs, realistically meaning that fewer will go into these lines of work. This will be disruptive. But just like AGI [Artificial General Intelligence] should bring about a world of fewer human bankers, doctors, and dentists, if these changes bring more accurate and fair criminal justice, and if they are not otherwise intrinsically harmful, they are to be eagerly anticipated.  (p.19)


Artificial Intelligence, Law, Lawyer, Technology, Automation


AI and Law

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