December 28, 2021



RESEARCHERS in China are testing a new Artificial Intelligence (AI) machine that can reportedly identify crimes and file charges against criminals.

In a scene that’s eerily similar to “RoboCop” this programme, created by Chinese scientists, has been trained to identify instances of cases featuring Shanghai’s eight most common crimes. The AI was developed and tested by the Shanghai Pudong People’s Procratorate, which is the country’s largest district public prosecution office.

According to the South China Morning Post, it can file a charge with more than 97 percent accuracy based on a description of a suspected criminal case.

In a paper published in Management Review, the researchers said: “The system can replace prosecutors in the decision-making process to a certain extent.”

The machine is built off an existing AI tool called System 206 and is already being used by authorities in Shanghai to help assess evidence and decide whether or not a suspected criminal was dangerous to the public at large. ​​

According to the researchers in the paper, the technology was fairly limited as it could not “participate in the decision-making process of filing charges and [suggesting] sentences”.

Doing so would mean that the AI needs to be able to identify and remove irrelevant information in a case, along with being able to process human language in its neural network.

The machine can identify and charge criminals with Shanghai’s eight most common crimes: credit card fraud, gambling, reckless driving, intentional assault, obstructing an officer, theft, fraud, and even political dissent.

The inclusion of dissent has raised concerns that the system could be adopted by the Chinese Communist party and weaponised to quash political protests.

According to the project’s lead scientist Professor Shi Yong, the AI would allow human prosecutors to ease their workload and allow them to only focus on the more complex cases.

One prosecutor in Guangzhou raised concerns about this new technology.

He said: “The accuracy of 97 percent may be high from a technological point of view, but there will always be a chance of a mistake.

“Who will take responsibility when it happens? The prosecutor, the machine or the designer of the algorithm?

“AI may help detect a mistake, but it cannot replace humans in making a decision.”

AI technology already exists in law enforcement agencies across the globe. However this first time it is involved in pressing charges.

Most recently, researchers have suggested that robot cops could be used to help contain the spread of the virus by detecting and discouraging “lapses” in social distancing.

At the University of Maryland, a group of researchers have already created one specimen that could alert people in a crowded public space when they’re too close to each other.

The robot is equipped with a Red Green Blue—Depth (RGB-D) camera and 2-D LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensor, allowing it to monitor nearby humans and measure the distance between them.