Justice Sharad Arvind Gokhale expressed his intention to adopt AI based judicial system in
2019. But the issue is that can judges be replaced by AI? Will justice system remain the same
with AI being introduced? Recent advances in AI mean the technology can do far more than
sifting through vast quantities of data. It is developing cognitive skills and learning from past
events and cases. This inevitably leads to questions as to whether AI will one day make better
decisions than humans.
All human decisions are susceptible to prejudice and all judicial systems suffer from
unconscious bias, despite the best of intentions. Algorithms that can ignore factors that do not
legally bear on individual cases, such as gender and race, could remove some of those
failings. The growth of technological advancement has extended within the legal system as
well. In many countries today there is a system of ‘smart justice’ where there is an
applicability of AI to assist the judges and provide legal advice in cases.
One of the most important considerations for judges is whether to grant bail and how long
prison sentences should be. These decisions are usually dictated by the likelihood of
reoffending. Algorithms are now able to make such decisions by giving an evidence-based
analysis of the risks, rather than relying on the subjective decision-making of individual
Despite these obvious advantages, it is far from clear who would provide oversight of the AI
and check their decisions are not flawed. And more cautious observers warn that AIs may
learn and mimic bias from their human inventors or the data they have been trained with.
Hence even though algorithmic justice system is on the rise but humane understanding and
empathy is not something AI is enabled to do
There are various instances that point out that even though there is a rise in replacing the
justice system with AI like in China where a large number of robots function to provide
justice. But as stated by the current Chief Justice of India the entire procedure of legal
diligence cannot be completely left to the hands of AI as it is something which functions on
programmed data and imbibing knowledge through new data so in the case of extraordinary
circumstances such a system will not particularly be helpful.
Hence the question of justice system remaining the same is that it will adapt but if the entire
procedure itself is left to an algorithmic based system with less human interference might not
be helpful. The reason being that such a system is made to assist human being even if it is the
AI as judges it cannot be allowed to take over for the simple reason that human beings have
emotions and knowledge which is different hence it makes humans more adaptable to change.
Also, AI cannot understand the complexities of law relating to the reading and interpretation
of provisos, rules, explanation to a particular provision. Thus, AI cannot completely replace
judges and the justice system will not remain the same with the introduction of AI.
–By Vedika Kejriwal