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Dystopian Justice

Dystopian Justice

The accused stands
in the witness box on 
day 198 for the New Era 
having been held in a cell 
assigned without bail for 
the alleged crime of 
“provoking trouble” an 
offense programmed in 
the algorithm to warrant
a mandatory five 
year sentence if
found guilty. 
The AI Judicator 
runs on a desktop
computer sitting
atop the judge’s
bench, the program— 
trained to assess
the evidence in the
case before it,
puts questions to
the suspected perpetrator
in a clipped and vacant
voice converting the
respondent’s answers
into a standard format
computers can understand
before pronouncing 
the verdict declaring
“You are an enemy of
the people” precipitating 
a wailing outburst from 
relatives in attendance there
to hear the sentence
decree as the convicted
party is removed in chains, 
the bailiff blaring
to the crowd assembled
“All judgments are
rendered with more than 
97 percent accuracy. Now 
clear the courtroom.”

Afterword: I was taken aback by the article about a Chinese AI “prosecutor.” Historian Timothy Snyder, author of On Tyranny, in a recent interview in The Guardian makes it abundantly clear that democracy is in peril and that one of the reasons has to do with what is identified as a lack of historical literacy. “When people refuse to make comparisons with events that have happened before, what they are really saying is: ‘I don’t want to look at either the past or the present’” let alone the future. In concluding, the interviewer states, “It seems to me that the opposite of tyranny is not freedom, but something more active: creativity, engagement. Do you think artists and writers have lately stepped up to that challenge?” Snyder responds that he is not going to criticize artists and writers, that “the main problem is often the way that their work has trouble getting viewed” and he adds: “Art and literature enable us to flex those imaginative muscles.”

News source:

Image credit: photo with illustrations by H.R. Debs


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