I read an article this week on BBC News about court trials that had to be adjourned because court IT systems could not be accessed. The Chairman of the Criminal Bar Association was quoted as saying that the courts’ computer systems were “crumbling”. To be brutally honest, this didn’t really surprise me – it was more like disappointment.
What did stand out was that I read it only minutes after seeing a piece in the FT called “Algorithms tame ambiguities in use of legal data” about legal firms that are starting to deploy artificial intelligence and machine learning. Is it just me, or do these two articles strike anyone else as slightly surreal when read together? Lawyers are busy using artificial intelligence while courts are struggling with IT systems that lose evidence…. What’s that all about?
There’s a big move in the USA, driven by the FBI, towards integrated justice, and there are similar initiative here, too, but surely these can only be interesting and isolated projects while basic systems are creaking and courts can’t do their work?
Nowadays system resilience should be a basic assumption for every firm and institution. So while it’s good that some are pushing out to see where the future lies, we must get the everyday basics working properly for everyone. Otherwise it’s not just the routine that suffers, the credibility of technology does too, along with those advocating it.
Or have I got something wrong, here?
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