The Estonian Ministry of Justice has officially asked Ott Velsberg, the country’s chief data officer, to design a “robot judge” to take care of a backlog of small claims court disputes, Wired reports.
The artificial intelligence-powered “judge” is supposed to analyze legal documents and other relevant information and come to a decision. Though a human judge will have an opportunity to revise those decisions, the project is a striking example of justice by artificial intelligence.
Estonia, a tiny Northern European nation of fewer than 1.4 million inhabitants, has made impressive strides in digitizing, streamlining, and modernizing its government functions. Estonia famously launched its “e-residency” program that allows practically anybody — including foreigners — to access Estonian government services. Its digital national ID smartcard blazed the trail of next-generation government-issued IDs — despite its (significant) security vulnerabilities.
And it’s not just the court system that’s getting an AI overhaul in the country — in fact, AI already has automated a number of government functions. It’s scanning satellite images with algorithms to determine if subsidized farming operations are following government-mandated rules. AI algorithms are even scanning the resumes of laid-off workers to find them jobs.