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‘Intelligent Justice’: AI Implementations in China’s Legal Systems

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Artificial Intelligence and Its Discontents

Part of the book series: Social and Cultural Studies of Robots and AI ((SOCUSRA))


How are Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems transforming China’s public security and judicial systems? As part of China’s AI national strategy, AI technologies are leveraged for judicial reform and modernization. Big data, cloud computing, natural language processing, and video recognition support ‘internet courts’ such as the ‘Court2Judge’ platform (Chen 2015). Machine learning and cognitive computing used by the ‘206 System’ assist public security and court personnel with evidence verification and trial argumentation (Cui 2020). Advanced AI robotics power ‘smart courts’ that employ the nation’s first robot judges such as ‘Xiaozhi’ that can efficiently adjudicate some civil cases (Gao, Xia, and Luo 2019). AI is also used by public security agencies for locating lawbreakers and interrogating suspects to ensure the integrity and expediency of the processes from arrest to trial. However, not everyone is optimistic about this ‘new age’ law enforcement. Concerns about data privacy and skepticism around the credibility of the so-called black box of AI algorithms call into question the benefits of AI-assisted justice. This paper historicizes AI-powered systems by discussing their implementation in China’s courts and public security bodies through three stages of AI development: ‘intelligent perception,’ ‘intelligent cognition,’ and ‘intelligent decision making.’ This paper also aims to demonstrate why China’s effort to pursue AI as an innovative technical practice for realizing judicial fairness and justice must recognize the legitimate roles played by social and ethical considerations; progress is predicated on public participation, respect for human values, and clear-eyed understanding of AI’s current challenges.

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  1. 1.

    Public health has also begun to weigh in on AI and its legal contours, as discussed by Ranjini Raghavendra’s chapter.


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The authors would like to thank Dr. Colin Shunryu Garvey and Mr. Adrian Selvido De La Cruz for the inspiring discussions; Professor Janet Abbate, Professor Barbara Allen and Dr. Ariane Hanemaayer’s thoughtful feedback and unconditional support; Mr. Clay Lin for all the learning opportunities.

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Correspondence to Nyu Wang .

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Wang, N., Tian, M.Y. (2022). ‘Intelligent Justice’: AI Implementations in China’s Legal Systems. In: Hanemaayer, A. (eds) Artificial Intelligence and Its Discontents. Social and Cultural Studies of Robots and AI. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-88614-1

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-030-88615-8

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