Thursday, April 19, 2018

Automated Decisions Need Supervision

Writing this post I find myself traveling home a day late due to a computer decision.  My "tale of woe" began last night when I presented myself at my connection gate, with 12 minutes prior to the scheduled departure.  I was informed that my reservation had been canceled, by the airline computer.  This was done despite my instructions at my trip originating airport to keep my original reservations/plans and, I was given a printed ticket. What does this have to do with court automation… I will explain below.


When we design court case management systems an important part of the system is the calendaring and scheduling component (links here and here).  In the calendar, we set up the “buckets” which set the parameters in which the scheduling system can place type of hearing on the correct date, time and courtroom.  And here is the reason I like to use the bucket analogy, the CCMS allow for the buckets to be overfilled by their supervisors thus override the system’s decision. In other words, the judge/clerk supervises the system.

I really needed the airline’s system to allow that last night.

But besides my travel story, I was also inspired to write this post by an article in Law Practice Today (found thanks to LinkedIn) by Mary Juetten titled, “Access to Justice Only Starts with Technology”.

In the article Ms. Juetten presents “a roadmap for attorneys in their practice and use of technology” including the following points:

Access to justice: Lawyers must be accessible
Advancements in technology: Lawyers must meet the clients where they are.
Public trust and confidence: Lawyers must be regular people.
Client-Centric Mobile Applications are the Key to Access to Justice

I very much appreciate her take on applying but also “supervising” technology in an appropriate and thoughtful manner.  I just wish my airline had done so.

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