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How to Upgrade Judges with Machine Learning

Technology Review covers a new study from Computing and Information Science Professor Jon Kleinberg and fellow researchers who developed an algorithm that could better inform decisions regarding criminal defendants awaiting trial.

According to the article, the algorithm was developed to help judges determine if a criminal defendant awaiting trial is a flight risk. How?

"Defendants are assigned a risk score based on data pulled from records for their current case and their rap sheet...Kleinberg suggests that algorithms could be deployed to help judges without major disruption to the way they currently work in the form of a warning system that flags decisions highly likely to be wrong."

Kleinberg said one goal of the project was to show policymakers the potential benefits to society of using machine learning in the criminal justice system. “This shows how machine learning can help even in contexts where there’s considerable human expertise being brought to bear."