Saturday, September 16, 2017

CTC2017 Day 3

On Day 3, I attended prof. Fred Lederer's wide-ranging and very interesting talk on legal aspects of Artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things. This summary of what I think were the highlights will not do it justice.
As algorithms are becoming such a determining factor, there was a suggestion to treat algorithms like corporations. 
The essence of data analytics is that we will find things we did not know were there. 
Good source for the Internet of Things: article by  Maciej Kranz in Harvard Business Review. 
Will existing law answer issues posed by the new technology? What is the "right" answer for the society involved?
What if the police want to pull over an autonomous self- driving car for speeding, while the human inside the car is not driving it? As a judge - professors are good at framing questioins, but judges need to answer them - my first question is: can a self-driving car speed? Or is it designed to obey all traffic rules including speed limits? I would say yes. 
And what about someone who hacks a self-driving car in order to cause an accident with it? Again, there is an unanswered quesstion behind this one: what constitutes the crime? Hacking? Causing the accident?
Pretrial detention algorithms are being used by judges more and more. It is also found to be problematic, for instance biased against African American defendants. My observation is that we know very little about the causality of the factors involved in recidivism. 

In the conference's Endnote, all big themes were addressed: 
What comes after digitization?
Artificial intelligence
Designing for the user
User testing for innovation - jury service on their phone
Translation technology
Agility, allowing for failure
Organizational ITmaturity
Next generatioin apps 
Cloud computing and surviving thehurricane. In one of the courts, justice never stopped in spite of the storm. 

New data uses - e-notifcations reduced Failure to Appear by 50-20%.

CTC2017 Day 2

Fro me, Day 2 was dedicated to innovative stuff for access to justice.
MJ Cartwright showed me a phone app that helps people deal with traffic violations, including the trial if it needs to come to that. Over lunch, I listened to the problems of a CIO from the Midwest, who felt there was so much that had to be done, although their systems were much better than people expected of the Midwest. And I had a wonderful conversation with Margaret Hagan, director of the Design Lab of the Stanford Law School. More about Margaret later. 

In the afternoon, I participated in a workshop on improving the user experience - lessons from law schools and innovation labs. 
NULawLab's Dan Jackson explained their approach. They developed RePresent, a game to teach people how to represent themselves. Their latest product is a game called Angry Tenants. 
Margaret Hagan introduced the 4 core strategies for improving the user experience: 
Conversational Artificial intelligence
Visual models
Coordinating services in the local community
An example of an AI tool: you talk about your crummy landlord on Twitter, and our AI can then send you an advice to go to your local service center for advice. Would that work? Or does that go too far?
Visual models - how effective are they? Different visual models work for different people. 
Christopher Griffin A2J Lab Harvard explained how they do randomized trial testing to test for effectiveness, for instance of tools like self-help materials, court user notices. In the case of court user notices, the default rate dropped by half after the text had been improved.
Another example was triageing lawyers for cases where they are going to make a difference. 

The rest of the afternoon we spent doing a design sprint in 1 hour. Usually, design sprints will take longer than that. It was a fun exercise, and people came up with very innovative solutions. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

CTC2017 day one

 CTC2017 is under way in Salt Lake City, Utah. This is my 10th Court Technology Conference. What will I take away from this one?
The opening keynote, by Mark Lanterman, Chief Technology Officer at Computer Forensic Services, took us on live a tour of the Dark Web. Where to buy drugs, guns, stolen credit cards and personal information. Very interesting, somewhat gloomy start to the conference.

Next, the Utah courts, on the home turf, presented their plans for user centered case management. Workgroups in the courts listed what they wanted in improvements from the system. One example: the judicial workspace, a hearing based interface. Judges use it on the bench, it gives them access to the electronic case file and digitally sign orders. Cases can be linked automatically using a person's State Identity Number. MyCase is the interface for the court users. It is designed for the smart phone. An ODR negotiating tool is still in the design stage. Users can subscribe to notifications by email or sms messaging.3rd party interfaces to other government agencies are still in the planning stage. 

I managed to catch the tail end of Digital Design for the User Experience, by Shannon Salter and Margaret Hagan. Shannon is the Chair of the British Columbia Civil Resolutions Tribunal in Canada. Margaret Hagan directs the Legal Design Lab at Stanford Law School. User testing is key: to find testers, you will want to show up where people are already at. Test with the people you are designing for. It is a lot of work to find testers who are not part of the system, but you really need them. Second lesson: it is better to test on a small scale than not at all. Sorry I could not make it to the talk from the start.

David Harvey, Director of the New Zealand Centre for ICT law at the University of Auckland, presented the UK plan for the online courts. It aims to use technology in a disruptive but transformative way, and not mirror existing processes. The universal values of justice need to be observed. I already blogged about this plan in March 2015. Scroll down and you will find it. It will be interesting to see how this ambitious plan is going to materialize.

Singapore Community Justice and Tribunals System (CJTS)
This is an ambitious plan that has already materialized. It was introduced in May 2017. CJTS includes a prefiling assessment to ascertain how the problem can be resolved, and whether it needs to go to courts. Filing including choice of hearing date. The overall design of the procedure is similar to what we in the Netherlands have done for our digital procedures. The claiming party needs to use their Singpass for individuals, Compass for companies, or a CJTS pass for those who have neither. The responding party can choose negotiations, but only up to the hearing date. That gives the negotiation stage some effectiveness. And if negotiations result in an agreement to pay, the parties can apply for a consent order of tribunal.
Singapore is now testing online dispute resolution. They have studied working with artifical intelligence, those papers are on line at the courts web site.
Until now, respondents are not using the system much. The Singapore courts believe this may be because they are not yet familiar with the system.
Good idea I picked up here: the hearing officer, who ensures parties are ready for the hearing before they enter the courtroom. Staff whose work was taken over by the system are retrained for new tasks. 
At the end of a long day, this was a nice surprise: something that is very concrete and actually already works. I look forward to learning more about the effects of this innovative procedure.