Zimmerman Hunting Murder: Can Artificial Intelligence (AI) Replace a Jury?

July 16, 2013

NewsRescue- The Zimmerman case has clearly demonstrated a large fault in the US judicial system. A jury of six women determined that Zimmerman was not guilty of killing 17 year old Trayvon martins. Based on the decision made by the jury, Americans on either side of the divide, either patronized the decision as a legal victory or loss. If the random selection had more of those who feel it is a victory, it would have swayed that way, and if the random selection had more of those who see it was a grave loss, were in the jury, then it would have been judged otherwise.

Origins of the modern jury System: The Magna Carta

By King John. Article 39: No free man shall be captured, and or imprisoned, or disseised of his freehold, and or of his liberties, or of his free customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or in any way destroyed, nor will we proceed against him by force or proceed against him by arms, but by the lawful judgment of his peers, and or by the law of the land.

The question is, how reliable can a decision made by 6 non experts, picked from the streets be? Answer- 100% unreliable. The united states is one of the few countries in the world that is so extreme with democracy, they toss life and death cases into the hands of random people selected from the streets, with no experience in matters of law. Such a system is an insult to intelligence. Certain evidences require professional minds to discern. Everyday people simply lack the ability to make informed and evidence based analysis and judgments based on prosecution and defense presentations.

And the perfection of those who select the jury is also questionable. Recently in the US, the IRS was exposed to have targeted certain individuals and organizations. The institutions that select jury candidates for cases are not more perfect than the IRS is, and have regularly been accused of skewing jury selection.

The jury of six in the Zimmerman case did not even understand what “man slaughter” was. They asked a question on this, and when told to be more precise in their question, they decided to forgo that line of thought that was challenging them all together.

But the bane of the deficiency of the system, comes from the reason for their judgment as presented by a juror on a TV interview after the case. the juror said that 5 out of 6 jurors, decided the case after concluding that the voice crying in distress during the confrontation was Zimmerman.

COOPER: How significant were those 9-1-1 tapes to you?

JUROR: The Lauer tape was the most significant because it went through before the struggle, during the struggle, the gunshot and then after.

COOPER: You had the parents of Trayvon Martin testifying; you had the family of George Zimmerman, friends of George Zimmerman, testifying about whose voice it was on the 9-1-1 call.

Whose voice do you think it was in the 9-1-1 call?

JUROR: I think it was George Zimmerman’s.

COOPER: Did everybody on the jury agree with that?

JUROR: All but probably one.

COOPER: And what made you think it was George Zimmerman’s voice?

JUROR: Because of the evidence that he was the one that had gotten beaten.

Zimmerman’s friends claimed it was him, Trayvon’s family claimed it was him and allegedly computers could not determine who it was. How could the case possibly hang and be determined on knowing whose voice it was, when this is impossible to determine? This shows the gross inadequacy and imperfection of the US jury system. Basically the jury of 6 determined their judgment simply from emotion and prejudice. They choose whose voice they wished to hear and threw the case based on that.

The realization of the inadequacies of the US jury system, and recognizing the reasons why some are not comfortable with bench trial, judge(s)-based system—possibility of judge bias—provoke thought on alternative means of passing judgments in the western world.

Artificial Intelligence is advancing greatly these days and with quantum calculations and hoards of data of human interactions being chewed up by computers, the possibility of machines being as good and better than human beings is a goal to be achieved in another 5-10 years.

Already University studies have already found computers to be 42% better in diagnosis and treatment including correct prognosis, than doctors, and at one third the price.

Could machines soon replace judges and juries? It would probably be better to have your case determined by a machine, with accrued skills on human behavior and data analyses, than determined by 6 random possibly prejudiced people. This might just be one of the few cases where we would prefer AI’s taken over people’s roles.