HISTORIC FIRST AS WISCONSIN MAN SENTENCED TO PRISON BY A SOFTWARE PROGRAM’S SECRET ALGORITHM

Tuesday, May 2, 2017
By Paul Martin

Compas and other products with similar algorithms play a role in many states’ criminal justice systems. “These proprietary techniques are used to set bail, determine sentences, and even contribute to determinations about guilt or innocence,” a report from the Electronic Privacy Information Center found. “Yet the inner workings of these tools are largely hidden from public view.”

by Geoffrey Grider
NowTheEndBegins.com
May 1, 2017

WHEN CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN G. ROBERTS JR. VISITED RENSSELAER POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE LAST MONTH, HE WAS ASKED A STARTLING QUESTION, ONE WITH OVERTONES OF SCIENCE FICTION.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ten years ago, a movie called Minority Report showed us a grim future were computers with secret algorithms were the determining factor in a person’s innocence or guilt, and what penalty they would pay if found guilty. In 2017, courts across America are using highly complex proprietary software with secret algorithms to sentence people to jail.

“Can you foresee a day,” asked Shirley Ann Jackson, president of the college in upstate New York, “when smart machines, driven with artificial intelligences, will assist with courtroom fact-finding or, more controversially even, judicial decision-making?”

The chief justice’s answer was more surprising than the question. “It’s a day that’s here,” he said, “and it’s putting a significant strain on how the judiciary goes about doing things.”

He may have been thinking about the case of a Wisconsin man, Eric L. Loomis, who was sentenced to six years in prison based in part on a private company’s proprietary software. Mr. Loomis says his right to due process was violated by a judge’s consideration of a report generated by the software’s secret algorithm, one Mr. Loomis was unable to inspect or challenge.

The Rest…HERE

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