China Deploys ‘AI Prosecutor’ To Identify Dissenters

( China has developed an artificial intelligence prosecutor that can charge people with crimes with over 97 percent accuracy.

The AI prosecutor can identify “dissent” against the state and suggest the appropriate sentencing thereby removing the need for human beings in the prosecution process.

Unsurprisingly, there are already some who fear such a system could be weaponized by the Chinese Communist Party.

The AI prosecutor was built and tested by the Shanghai Pudong People’s Procuratorate, the largest district prosecution office in the People’s Republic of China. According to lead scientist Professor Shi Young, the tool, which can file a charge based on a verbal description of the case, would allow human prosecutors to cut down on their workload and focus on more complex cases.

The system runs on a standard desktop computer and is capable of pressing charges based on 1,000 “traits” from the human-generated case description text. It has been trained using 17,000 real-life cases from 2015 to 2020 and can identify and press charges for the eight most common crimes committed in Shanghai.

Charges it can identify include credit card fraud, gambling, reckless driving, theft, fraud, intentional injury, obstructing official duties, and “provoking trouble” – the catch-all term used to stifle dissent in China.

Once the system is upgraded, researchers expect the AI prosecutor will also be able to recognize other types of crimes and file multiple charges against an individual suspect.

In a paper published in the Management Review journal, Professor Shi said the AI prosecutor system will be able to replace its human counterparts “in the decision-making process to a certain extent.”

While some AI technology is already used in law enforcement for facial recognition and forensic investigation, this will be the first time AI is used in pressing charges against suspects.

One prosecutor in Guangzhou, however, has reservations about the new AI prosecutor technology, arguing that a 97 percent accuracy may be high from a technological standpoint, but that means there will be mistakes. And when these mistakes happen and someone is wrongfully prosecuted, who takes responsibility – the prosecutor, the machine, or the system designers?