June 24, 2024
US Chief Justice Foresees AI Impact

US Chief Justice Foresees AI Impact

On December 31, United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts released the annual report for the Supreme Court, emphasizing the anticipated substantial impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on the legal profession. While expressing confidence in the enduring presence of judges, Roberts highlighted the evolving nature of AI’s influence, indicating that judges must adapt to understand its role in the cases they handle. He underscored the need for courts to carefully assess the appropriate applications of AI in litigation as the technology continues to advance.

“… with equal confidence, I predict that judicial work—particularly at the trial level—will be significantly affected by AI.”

Roberts acknowledged the potential of AI to assist the judicial system in advancing the objectives outlined in rule no. 1 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedures—achieving a “just, speedy, and inexpensive” resolution of cases. However, he urged caution and humility in the use of AI, particularly referencing instances of AI “hallucinations,” where the technology provides answers containing false or misleading information presented as facts.

The Chief Justice cautioned that while AI can be beneficial, machines cannot fully replace key participants in court proceedings. He emphasized the importance of human judgment, pointing out that judges play a crucial role in evaluating aspects such as the sincerity of a defendant’s allocution during sentencing, where nuances and non-verbal cues are significant.

“And most people still trust humans more than machines to perceive and draw the right inferences from these clues.”

This statement from Chief Justice Roberts follows recent AI guidance issued by senior judges in the United Kingdom for the judiciary in England and Wales. The U.K. advisory provided instructions on AI use while highlighting potential risks during trial applications.

The cautious stance towards AI in the legal sphere is echoed by the acknowledgment of its transformative potential coupled with the need for careful consideration and ethical use.

Image by Freepik

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