Jan 24, 2024 – AI and truth…

Smart Justice Network

Jan 24, 2024 – AI and truth…


The Toronto Star – Sinead Bovell Contributor

AI fake news creations will undermine truthful reporting – Skepticism created by AI fakes isn’t just harmful; it’s corrosive to the very foundations of democracy.

Bovell is a futurist and a tech company owner.  She suggests that the two billion voters who will elect a sizeably number of governments all over the world in 2024 create an opportunity also for considerable dis-information from Artificial Intelligence sources, bent to the purposes of the creators of the message rather than to any recognizable version of truth.  “The threat is twofold. First, we have to grapple with the challenge of AI creating falsehoods that are easy to believe. But we may also face an even darker possibility: doubting the undeniable truth due to the pervasive influence of AI. It’s a paradox of progress; as technology becomes more adept at recreating reality, we risk becoming less trustful of that very reality… Yet, the “AI-political moment” is only the tip of the iceberg when we consider AI’s encroachment into the political arena. Generative AI’s efficiency in content creation, for instance, poses challenges that we are only beginning to grapple with.”   How false AI news will undermine elections (thestar.com)


Canadian Press

Provinces concerned about expanding assisted-dying for mental disorders: Holland – Provinces concerned about assisted-dying expansion

Canada’s federal Health Minister Holland says that provincial counterparts are concerned about the possible expansion of the Maid or Medically Assistance in Dying provisions currently attached to medical illnesses becoming an alternative as well for mental health interventions.  “Medical assistance in dying has been legal in Canada since 2016, but those whose sole underlying condition is a mental disorder are not currently eligible…Parliament approved plans to lift that restriction, but decided to wait until March in the face of widespread concerns over possible consequences.”  The question is delay but the change seems sure.  Provinces concerned about expanding assisted-dying for mental disorders: Holland | National News | thecanadianpressnews.ca


The Sentencing Project (US)

Life in Prison Without Parole in Louisiana – Alexandra Bailey

Few may be surprised but Louisiana has the highest per capita Life Without Parole incarcerated persons of any state in the union and in the world.  The sentence, commonly known as LWOP, is mostly meted out to youth for murder convictions while under eighteen.  The Sentencing Project has produced a three-page Fact Sheet on LWOP. There are about 4,000 or 15% of the state’s incarcerated persons under this sentence.  “The state’s heavy use of life sentences with no chance for review on young people and emerging adults is another feature of the statute’s especially draconian nature. Four in ten people sentenced to LWOP in Louisiana were twenty-five or younger at the time of their sentence.”  There is a growing insistence among professionals and advocates that a person’s brain development often continues to age 25 and that the sentence that precludes revision ignores the under-developed moments of the crime.  Life-in-Prison-Without-Parole-in-Louisiana.pdf (sentencingproject.org)


Pew Foundation (US) – Ericka Rickard

How to Create User-Friendly Legal Information and Resources – Steps for making civil courts more effective

After extensive research, the Pew Foundation has arrived at two major recommendations for making the courts more accessible and easier for the layperson to use.  “Courts can make their information and resources more user-friendly by implementing two key practices: Make court and legal information discoverable online, in person, and by phone.  Ensure that court forms include, in easy-to-understand formats and plain language, the information users need to make educated decisions about their cases.”  Pew then recommends two steps with elaborate how-to:  Step 1: Bring together relevant court staff and external stakeholders.  Step 2: Assess current practices and set next steps.  How to Create User-Friendly Legal Information and Resources | The Pew Charitable Trusts (pewtrusts.org)


Public Broadcast System – Crosscut (US): Nimra Ahmad

Meet the CARE Team, Seattle’s new mental health crisis responders – As part of a pilot program that avoids using force, the group is dispatched alongside police officers on 911 calls that might involve emotional distress. 

At first the cops showed up when a 70-year-old widow was evicted from her apartment after 20 years of residence and the recent death of her husband.  The cops called the CARE team:   “Enter Seattle’s newest public safety department, the Community Assisted Response and Engagement, or CARE, Team. This eviction is one example of the mental and behavioral health crises that fall under CARE’s jurisdiction.”   The CARE team in a dual dispatched approach is dispatched with police after 911 calls that do not involved violence and are likely mental health calls.  The CARE team has access to all the information available to the police and fire department but have no authority to remove a person or effect forceful entry.  Meet the CARE Team, Seattle’s new mental health crisis responders | Crosscut


Blogger Russell Webster (UK)

Lawyers face difficulties seeing clients in prison…

A January 22 report published by the British Association of Prison Lawyers raises the flag over access to the incarcerated.  “The report starts by setting out the (rather dismal) context of the current state of the criminal justice system with the prison population at an all-time high and delays in the courts at record levels. It also draws attention to a recent survey by the APL which concluded that funding for legal aid work with prisoners has become unsustainable to the point where three-quarters of prison lawyers do not think they will be doing prison law legal aid work in three years’ time. Due to reductions in the scope of what legal aid work covers in the last decade, almost all cases for people in prison have a bearing on their liberty.”  https://www.russellwebster.com/lawyers-face-difficulties-seeing-clients-in-prison/


The Conversation (Queen’s) – Warren Clarke

Young Black men in Canada face racism, ageism and classism when looking for work…

About 11% of Canada’s youth are unemployed.  That number goes to 17.5% of Black youth.  “Impoverished Black male youth in particular encounter racism, ageism, classism and gender biases when looking for work. These are stereotypes which encourage many Canadian employers to view them as not good for business and unemployable.”  Clarke, a U of Manitoba anthropology professor, suggests what he calls “intersectional oppressions.”  Clarke also suggests that Black youth in low-income areas of Montreal suffer from discrimination following on secularism laws.  Young Black men in Canada face racism, ageism and classism when looking for work (theconversation.com)


The Marshall Project (US) – Maurice Chammah

Vomiting, Seizures, Stroke: What Could Happen in the First Nitrogen Execution in the U.S. – A doctor on what’s new — and what isn’t — about the latest death penalty experiment.

This article is noteworthy because for the first time anywhere in the world nitrogen will replace oxygen through a mask to execute an individual and secondly because the Alabama authorities attempted the execution of this man before by lethal injection and failed.  “Alabama state officials have said the goal of “nitrogen hypoxia” is for the prisoner to quickly lose consciousness as oxygen leaves his or her body. But Smith lawyer’s are asking a series of federal courts to stop the execution, arguing that if something goes wrong, he might vomit, asphyxiate or be left in a persistent vegetative state. So far, they’ve been unsuccessful.”  What Could Happen in 1st Nitrogen Execution in the U.S. | The Marshall Project