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Israel mulls AI assistance for courts

While artificial intelligence could expedite legal processes, critics say legal decisions should not be entrusted to machines.

An artist's rendition of artificial intelligence. Credit: Pixabay.
An artist's rendition of artificial intelligence. Credit: Pixabay.

Israel is considering the possibility of using artificial intelligence to improve the efficiency of its judicial system, Israel Hayom reported on Sunday. 

The head of the Israeli court system, Judge Michael Spitzer, discussed the innovative idea with a U.S. AI specialist last month, according to the report. 

However, Spitzer emphasized that the idea is in its infancy and will “in no way be a replacement for judicial discretion.” 

Spitzer’s predecessor, retired Judge Yigal Marzel, warned against incorporating AI in the judicial system back in 2022, saying there needed to be “people, not machines” in courts. 

Tehilla Shwartz-Altshuler, a senior fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute, noted in a recent piece that China has already incorporated so-called “smart courts” that use AI to provide judicial services to a large population. If a human judge in China wishes to overrule the AI, he or she needs to justify the decision in writing. 

In recent years, Estonia also announced plans to use AI for small claims courts, with the possibility to appeal against AI decisions to a human judge.

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