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computers-to-hand-out-death-penalties

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Yet another sign that China will surpass the US in technological expertise: They will soon be using computers to hand out death penalties.

The software, which was designed by a Beijinghi-tech firm as a way of reigning in corrupt judges, has already helped determine sentences in 1,500 cases over the past two years in a trial run in China's eastern Shandongprovince.

Now the programme is being extended to other provincial courts and may be eventually used in court rooms across the nation of 1.3 billion, where more criminals are put to death than anywhere else in the world. Software designer Qin Ye has been working on the programme since 2003 and, helped by Shandonglegal officials, has loaded it with a huge database of Chinese law and case precedents.

On the plus site, the computer program is often less, shall we say jugdemental than judges, offering placations:

"Look Deng, I can see you're really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over."

I sure hope Ed Felton et all have a peak at this before it is implemented here in the US. I understand that Texas is already taking a look at the code:

10 print "Death"
20 Goto 10
I don't spot any backdoors there, but I think there is potential for that, in particular for extremely tight housing markets like New York where apartments typically only become available after death.

Interestingly, computer hacking is punishable by death in China. Hat Tip: To The People, my favorite celebrity gossip, NSFW, libertarian blog.

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