Written by 8:36 am AI

### Title: Ancient Robot Style: Chief Justice John Roberts’ AI Report

The Supreme Court in 2023 faced ethics scandals and a serious loss of public trust. Naturally, the …

The trust in the U.S. Supreme Court saw a significant decline following Chief Justice John Roberts’ 2023 year-end report. This decline was triggered by the revelation of undisclosed benefits received by the justices, particularly Justice Clarence Thomas, whose benefits were valued in the millions. Additionally, the newly empowered liberal majority’s eagerness to overturn precedents in favor of the Federalist Society agenda added to the erosion of trust.

Justice Samuel Alito, emboldened by the newfound power, took to writing opinion pieces in The Wall Street Journal, asserting that Congress lacked the authority to regulate the high court’s ethics. He also criticized ProPublica for investigating a luxury fishing trip funded by a billionaire, further exacerbating the situation.

One might have expected Chief Justice Roberts to address concerns regarding the justices’ ethics. However, instead of delving into this issue, he chose to focus on the role of artificial intelligence in the legal system.

Roberts’ report on AI seemed lackluster, almost as if it were generated by ChatGPT in response to a request for mundane content about the national judiciary that steered clear of ethics controversies. The report primarily detailed the evolution of court technology from quill pens to typewriters to computers, with little substantial discussion on AI itself.

While Roberts briefly touched on AI in two chapters, critics from Above the Law noted the superficiality of his treatment of the subject. For someone known for his landmark ruling on warrants for cellphone searches and his interest in the intersection of technology and law, Roberts’ approach to AI appeared disappointingly shallow.

In an attempt at humor, Roberts used phrases like “hallucination” to describe AI errors, but these attempts fell flat and came across as patronizing. He failed to engage in a meaningful dialogue on the ethical implications of AI use in the legal profession, sidestepping crucial issues such as client confidentiality and lawyers’ responsibilities when employing AI tools.

Roberts’ report missed the mark on addressing the genuine ethical dilemmas posed by AI, opting instead for a light-hearted approach that did not align with the gravity of the subject matter.

Despite his efforts to avoid ethics scandals, Roberts inadvertently undermined his own stance on judges’ impartiality by delving into a report that sidestepped critical ethical considerations. This contrasted with his earlier statements emphasizing judges’ role as impartial arbiters.

While Roberts acknowledged the limitations of AI in certain contexts, such as the use of optical systems in sports officiating, he failed to grasp the broader legal implications of AI technology. The potential for biased algorithms and copyright infringement issues raised by AI require careful examination, a task for which Roberts seemed ill-prepared.

In conclusion, Chief Justice Roberts’ report on AI lacked depth and failed to address the pressing ethical and legal challenges associated with artificial intelligence. His light-hearted approach and superficial treatment of the subject did little to instill confidence in his leadership on this critical issue.

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Last modified: January 4, 2024
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