Recently I watched the CBS news program "60 Minutes" and they did a story about "Watson", a a supercomputer that a few years back was programmed to take on contestants in the game show "Jeopardy". At first, the humans kicked it's butt but it went back to school and evolved, feeding off more and more knowledge and information, and adopting a logic based form of "artificial intelligence" that allowed it to consider all possible answers at cyber speed, then identify the most likely correct response...and then human brain power proved to be less than adequate...Watson kicked their butts and claimed its victory.
Since then Watson (the IBM supercomputer) has continued to "grow" and 'evolve" and is now being used to help fight cancer by using its powerful computing skills and still barely newborn artificial intelligence to consume volumes and volumes of medical information about treatments for cancer, then applying that "knowledge" to the specific circumstances of a particular patient and recommending the best course of cancer treatment.
Even in these earliest stages of application, Watson has already proven to be able to save those who might otherwise have died from cancer. What it comes down to is that the enormous volume of cancer research being done around the world and published in a wide variety of science and medical journals is simply too much for even the most dedicated doctor to consume. Even a team of the best doctors in the world could do nothing but read medical journals all day, every day for the rest of their lives and still not be able to read all the available material, much less possess the brain power to remember it all and apply it to the specific circumstances of a patient.
But Watson can and by continuously tweaking it's program it's been able to "learn" and now routinely assists doctors around the world on identifying the best course of cancer treatment with remarkable success and as a result many lives have already been saved, and even more will be yet.
That is amazing. When I was in the military my job was "13 echo 10", Army code for "Computerized Cannon Fire Directional Specialist". I was trained to work a computer that was fed information such as wind, longitude, latitude and other factors, then it would kick out where the huge 185 Howitzers would fire their shells, hitting their targets miles away. That was 1978 and the "computer" took up a small trailer. Now my small (less than 2 inches) MP3 player has more computing power in it than that military weapon of war.
Watching this "60 Minutes" program got me thinking ...what if ISM was to program a similar supercomputer to assist our legal system in objectively analyzing cases to serve as a safeguard against fundamental injustices and protect the innocent from being executed for a crime they didn't commit?
Let's face it, our legal system is inherently corrupted by the 'politics of death'. It's not that those responsible for administering justice inadvertently make mistakes, as they inevitably will. Its far more than that - too often the courts that we trust to make these life or death decisions are themselves only too willing to quite literally lie - the ends justify the means and in this deliberate absence of integrity, innocent people will be put to death.
A good example of this is my own case. In the most recent appeals before the Florida Supreme Court we argued that evidence in the exclusive possession of the State could substantiate my consistently plead claim of innocence if subjected to DNA testing. And it could.
Unable to defend against my argument, the Florida Supreme Court denied DNA testing of this evidence by stating that DNA testing had already been done and that since a preliminary chemical test previously showed no blood on the clothing in question, no DNA evidence was available.
Both these premises are false - and the justices on the Florida Supreme Court knew that they were lying. First, no DNA testing has ever been done in my case despite repeated requests. And next, the absence of blood does not exclude the possibility of DNA evidence, especially since the specific DNA material we sought to have tested was non-blood epidermal (skin tissue, or commonly known as "touch DNA") cells on the clothing.
To err is human. I can accept that any judicial process administered by human beings is going to be fallible....there's going to b mistakes. But when our courts take it a step further and deliberately lie in a capital case, then that's indicative of a much bigger problem, and calls into question the integrity of the process itself, and whether our contemporary courts are willing to put the innocent to death, and whether, as a society that claims to pride itself in protecting the innocent should demand something better. It comes down to a very simple question...are we as a society willing to demand that extraordinary safeguards be taken to protect the innocent from being executed?
This brings me back to Watson, the IBM supercomputer and it's unique ability to consume large amounts of information and then objectively analyze that data and reach a conclusion uncorrupted by political influences. If Watson can do this for cancer patients, then why not program Watson to take on the criminal justice system?
Inevitably computers will one day do this - objectively analyze the facts and evidence of a criminal case and reach an untainted conclusion free from bias. This is one of the reasons that for the past ten years now I have methodically posted all the appellate briefs filed in my case as well as the actual transcripts of my trial on my website (www.southerninjustice.net ) in the hopes that people will read them and see for themselves why our courts can not be trusted to "fairly" administer justice as truth can never hope to prevail before politically corrupt courts.
But what if one day all the evidence and legal arguments in a capital case are fed into a computer like Watson, and everything objectively analyzed like Watson already does for cancer patients, and a result is reached that is free from the bias that infects humanity?
As I said, I think one day computers will be used to serve as a necessary safeguard against human error - and more importantly, inherent human corruption. Hopefully bu that time our society will have evolved beyond what it is today and there will be no death penalty.
But when that day does come, although i will probably be long dead, I wonder if maybe some enterprising college student might feed into that computer all the information, evidence and legal arguments on my own case (and so many others!) and patiently wait as the supercomputer methodically analyzes all the data, then just like Watson reaches it's conclusions today for the cancer patients, that computer will objectively spit out it's response ..." Based on all the available data, the defendant Michael Lambrix, executed by the State of Florida in the year 2017, is innocent of the crime he was convicted of". Although I may not live to see that day, I'll probably still smile. Bottom line, Watson could save the innocent from being executed if only we as a society were committed to saving the innocent.