Courts in China are increasingly relying on blockchain technology and artificial intelligence to resolve legal issues through “smart internet courts,” where witnesses communicate with virtual, AI-enabled judges.
According to a Cointelegraph report, Xinhua state news agency revealed that over 3.1 million cases in the country were settled using the technologies in smart internet courts from March to October 2019.
Xinhua reported that the smart courts are made up of virtual judges enabled by AI technology that can communicate with citizens through multiple screens.
The first-ever smart court in China was introduced in 2017 in Hangzhou city, before the Chinese government expanded these courts to Beijing and Guangzhou.
Zhang Wen, President of the Beijing Internet Court, has stated that these new courts have adopted both AI and blockchain technology to resolve legal issues.
“In the current use of AI as an assistant to make rulings, efficiency is prioritized over accuracy. A human judge is ultimately responsible for the fair ruling. […] But we are heading toward a future when we can see an AI judge sitting at the podium,” he said.
Meanwhile, a report released by the Supreme People’s Court demonstrated that over 1 million citizens have already registered with the smart court system, as well as 73,200 lawyers.
The China government has been extremely open to using technology in courts. In 2018, a Supreme Court ruling allowed blockchain technology to be used in verifying evidence in legal disputes, stating:
“Internet courts shall recognize digital data that are submitted as evidence if relevant parties collected and stored these data via blockchain with digital signatures, reliable timestamps and hash value verification or via a digital deposition platform, and can prove the authenticity of such technology used.”
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