As China continues its strive to take the lead role regarding blockchain technology, Chinese courts have begun using new technology such as blockchain as well as artificial intelligence (AI), to make decisions on cases.

The smart courts operate by removing the need for these defendants to be physically present. Instead, people can interact with virtual judges powered by AI via screens. With these courts, people now get judgments or court decisions via text or other virtual channels.

According to a report from Chinese media platform Xinhuanet, citing a white paper from the Supreme People’s Court (SPC), about 3.14 million litigations have been successfully completed through these smart courts, between March and October.

Back in 2017, the world’s first smart internet court was started in Hangzhou, in eastern China. After that, more were launched in other parts such as Guangzhou and Beijing. During a speech at the 2019 Forum on China Intellectual Property Protection, Beijing Internet Court president Zhang Wen said that the use of these technologies in litigation “fosters social credibility development in the country.” Zhang also added that:

“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.”

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