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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
A court hands down an opinion: thoughtfully reasoned, forcefully argued, eminently fair. It’s lauded widely — until it comes out that the author wasn't a renowned judge but rather an advanced artificial intelligence system.
The big question: Should the opinion be rejected because of its source, even if it’s indistinguishable from — or better than — what a human would have produced?
Axios' Kaveh Waddell writes: Even though today’s AI is woefully unprepared for the job, legal scholars are already debating whether computers should someday be entrusted with enormous legal decisions.
Intelligent is as intelligent does, argues Eugene Volokh, a UCLA law professor, in a forthcoming paper for the Duke Law Journal.
But University of Ottawa professor Ian Kerr says how a decision is arrived at matters as much as the outcome.
Even when an AI system seems to make thoughtful judgments, it is actually only piecing together elements of cases in its database.
This means an AI judge will at its best perfectly apply existing law — but not push it forward, like Supreme Court justices do in landmark cases.
Ultimately, Volokh agrees, people will continue to have a place in the justice system even if computers are proven to write better opinions.
Out with the old. Photo: Michael Buckner/Getty
It's an unmistakable sign of the times. In Columbus, Ohio, a huge warehouse that was once a Serta Simmons mattress factory has been converted into a startup incubator.
What's going on: When considering the dollar amount of seed funding going to startups, Columbus is ranked 4th in the country and 7th in the world, city officials say. Last year, the non-profit Kauffman Foundation named it the top place in the country to scale companies.
The backdrop: Rev1 Ventures began in 2016 as an investor and a resource for Columbus startups. This year it will provide seed funding to 30 companies.
Go deeper: The heartland's fight to stay relevant
Photo: Dave Hogan/Getty
You were otherwise occupied this week. Nevermind — here is the top of Future:
1. A global view of strongmen: Cheaters, power-grabbers, populists
2. Find 50k highly skilled workers: Amazon's new quest
3. The heartland, fighting to stay relevant: Columbus' plan after Amazon
4. Californians usually rebuild after fires: That could change
Photo: Werner Forman/Universal Images/Getty
Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty
Much effort goes into finding and digging out precious and rare metals — gold especially, but also europium, platinum and rhodium, among others. But, in terms of the energy required for extraction, all pale in comparison to bitcoin, according to a new paper.
The bottom line: Bitcoin's energy gluttony has been a topic of discussion for some time. The Economist reckons that, when considering the global bitcoin mining community, it's using the same amount of energy as the entire country of Ireland.