Chinese Internet Court Employs AI and Blockchain to Render Judgement

In China, blockchain technology is increasingly employed to settle court cases, local news outlet Global Times reported on April 25.

Speaking at the 2019 Forum on China Intellectual Property Protection, Zhang Wen, president of the Beijing Internet Court — which was established in September 2018, and has since processed 14,904 cases — reportedly said that the court employs technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain to render judgement.

Zhang reportedly told the Global Times that “of the 41 cases concluded [with blockchain technology] so far, parties chose to settle out of court rather than litigate in 40 cases with compelling evidence from blockchain. This fosters social credibility development in the country.” He also noted that the court had deployed blockchain in 58 cases to collect and provide evidence. Zhang said:

“In the current use of AI as an assistant to make rulings, efficiency is prioritized over accuracy. A human judge is ultimately responsible for the fair ruling. […] But we are heading toward a future when we can see an AI judge sitting at the podium.”

Last December, an Internet Court in Hangzhou, Eastern China, turned to blockchain to fight piracy at the expense of online writers. Wang Jiangqiao, a judge at the Internet Court, said that since “blockchain guarantees that data can not be tampered […] all digital footprints stored in the judicial blockchain system […] have legal effect.”

In September of last year, China’s Supreme Court ruled that evidence authenticated with blockchain technology is binding in legal disputes. The Supreme Court declared that “Internet courts shall recognize digital data that are submitted as evidence if relevant parties collected and stored these data via blockchain with digital signatures, reliable timestamps and hash value verification or via a digital deposition platform, and can prove the authenticity of such technology used.”

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