Now that Richard Posner has announced his retirement from the bench, who will replace this legal legend on the Seventh Circuit? We propose IBM’s Watson computer! If Watson can be programmed to win game shows and diagnose patients, why couldn’t it be deployed to decide cases? Of course, even if President Trump followed our suggestion and appointed Watson to replace Posner, it would still have to be confirmed by the Republican do-nothing Senate, but really, who else could fill Posner’s shoes? (Caveat: if confirmed, would Watson have to recuse itself in any case in which IBM was a party or in any case involving artificial intelligence?)
For what it’s worth, this unorthodox idea occurred to me during a colloquium on A.I. and the law held at the Savannah Law School. In particular, shout out to Professor Kellyn McGee (@TheEthicsProf). It was a question she posed to me after my talk on “machine judges” that sparked this modest proposal.