Meder, Stephan. Beck, Verena, Translator. Legal Machines: Of Subsumption Automata, Artificial Intelligence, And the Search for the "Correct" Judgment. Clark, New Jersey: Talbot Publishing, 2023. x, 167 pp. ISBN-13: 9781616196813. ISBN-10: 1616196815. Hardcover. New. $125. * A title in the JCL Studies in Comparative Law, Second Series. As advances in artificial intelligence grip our imagination in the twenty-first century, Meder reminds us that law's first "machine age" dates from at least the seventeenth century and the inventive minds of Jean Bodin and Thomas Hobbes. Jurists involved in finding legal decisions would be merely a cog in a large apparatus designed to give expression to the will of the sovereign through the proper application of the law. The nineteenth century declared war on the absolute monarchical state and the mechanistic paradigm. The critique of a "mechanical" application of law and the distorted image of the "subsumption automaton" have stood for criticism of judging that, removed from the demands of "everyday life," adheres to predefined concepts and dispenses with reflection on law and justice. Rudolf Jhering's "judgment machine," Hermann Kantorowicz's "thinking machine," or Max Weber's "paragraph automaton" can be seen as pejorative images of a machine into which "one throws the files at the top, together with costs and fees, so that it spits out the judgment at the bottom, along with the more or less valid reasons." Digitization is transforming the means of delivery and providing greater sophistication, but Meder's study is a thorough and pioneering reminder that people today are seeking new routes to a long-cherished and not necessarily desirable outcome. Stephan Meder is professor for Civil Law and History of Law at the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Universitat Hannover and a leading authority on artificial intelligence and the law. Verena Beck is a professional freelance translator based in Germany.
Book number 75190