February 26, 2024

In his annual year-end report on the state of the federal judiciary, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. focused on the potential benefits and drawbacks of artificial intelligence in the legal system. He highlighted the case of Michael D. Cohen, who had supplied his lawyer with bogus legal citations generated by an artificial intelligence program. Chief Justice Roberts emphasized the dangers and shortcomings of A.I., including privacy invasion and dehumanizing the law. He noted that A.I. could streamline legal filings, but also expressed concerns about its potential to invade privacy and dehumanize legal processes. The chief justice also pointed out that the use of A.I. in making discretionary decisions like assessing flight risk and recidivism in criminal cases has raised concerns about due process and potential bias. He stressed the importance of human judgment in legal determinations, emphasizing that nuance and human perception are still essential in the legal system. According to Chief Justice Roberts, appellate judges will not be replaced by A.I. anytime soon, as many decisions rely on fact-specific gray areas and open questions about the development of the law, which artificial intelligence cannot make. Overall, the chief justice expressed cautious optimism about the potential benefits of artificial intelligence in the legal system but also emphasized the need for human judgment and discretion.

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