Administrator’s note as of September 3, 2020:  This is an updated version of an article previously published to Court Leader on July 21, 2018.

We are pleased to offer this important article by former court executive officer, consultant, and guest author-contributor Alan Carlson on the topic of “Using AI and Big Data to Develop Tools Used in Courts.”

(1) Significant attention is now being focused on developing tools to assist people in
navigating legal processes, resolving legal disputes, and making legal decisions. Using artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze relevant datasets could greatly increase the effectiveness and usability of these tools. At the same time, there are several risks and shortcomings if these tools are not developed and used responsibly. Given the potential advantages of using AI developed tools, the objective here is to create an awareness of the benefits, risks, and possible risk mitigation measures associated with the use of AI developed tools in courts. An increased awareness can result in more effective AI developed tools.

(2) People looking at the use of AI developed tools in courts are the intended audience. This includes policy makers (judges, legislators, and court and public agency managers), as well as tool developers, as it is the policy makers, not tool developers, that should define goals and establish accountability for any AI developed tools.

(3) The discussion is not a “how to” manual for developing AI tools, nor are the differences and nuances of various AI approaches explored. Although the discussion identifies risk mitigation approaches, it does not provide technical solutions.

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