Writing Prompt – Artificially Intelligent Judge

A local government (city or county) appoints an artificial intelligence as a judge.


  • Consider possible advantages in an artificially intelligent judge:
    1. It could know all relevant laws and precedents without any lapse in memory, maybe a nation’s entire legal code in all areas of law with no need to specialize.
    2. It could work in any jurisdiction provided that jurisdiction coded its legal code into a compatible database file which could be uploaded to the AI judge.
    3. The judge would be impartial and could not be manipulated by emotional appeals or prejudice, if its programmers do not insert prejudice into the code. (Also a disadvantage. See below.)
  • Also consider possible disadvantages or risks in an artificially intelligent judge:
    1. It would be inflexible, with no compassion or mercy.
    2. It would be logical but with no moral consciousness.
    3. It would be vulnerable to manipulation by programmers who have political agendas but no legal training.
    4. Its ability to work in any jurisdiction could lead to more centralized control.
    5. Distrust of artificial intelligence could generate numerous requests for appeal of its decisions.
  • This story is an opportunity to take advantage of one of the greatest strengths of science fiction – the ability to use hypothetical situations to explore ideas which are of genuine concern to people.
  • This story could go many ways. It could explore the following issues:
    1. What are the ethics and viability of AI and the limits we should impose on its use? This question is relevant today as we develop AI for such uses as autonomous cars, human resources management, and medical care.
    2. Is an AI sentient?
    3. Which safeguards should we put on the decision-making algorithms of AI?
    4. Which checks and balances should be placed on the programmers to prevent the insertion of personal agendas into the programming?

You are free to use this prompt in your own writing. If you print it or post it online, however, please credit this post.

About henrywm

I am interested in Christian theology and church history. I also enjoy science fiction, fantasy, and stories which wrestle with deep questions.
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