Emerging ethical issues highlighted related to the use of Artificial Intelligence in U.S. legal system

NCRA publishes first of its kind white paper dedicated to raising awareness on judicial integrity

November 15, 2023 10:00 AM EST

Reston, Va., Nov. 15, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In an unprecedented move, the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA), the country’s leading organization representing stenographic court reporters, captioners, and legal videographers, has published its first white paper highlighting the emerging ethical issues related to the implementation of artificial intelligence in the U. S. judicial system.

“Raising the alarm of the emerging threat of artificial intelligence to nation’s judiciary starts with this white paper,” NCRA Executive Director Dave Wenhold, CAE, PLC, added. “NCRA continues to be at forefront of our industry by providing this document to legislators, members, and our citizenry at all levels.”

The document has been a work in progress for years sparked by the NCRA STRONG Committee, which is chaired by Sue A. Terry, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC, a 48-year veteran of court reporting from Springfield, Ohio.

“This white paper will serve as a crucial reminder to courts, lawyers, and justice advocacy groups of the importance of ensuring the integrity of our nation’s court records.” Terry said.

“While digital audio recording and automatic speech recognition tech vendors promise cost savings that are often unattainable, there’s high risks with these technologies to the accuracy, accountability, privacy, and traceability of litigants’ private information, and caution should be used before implementing this solution,” she added.

The 22-page document is the culmination of the work of 17 NCRA members from 11 states that offer 525 years of combined experience in the stenographic court reporting profession. Nearly three years of research into the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR), voice cloning, and digital audio recording, reveal the urgent need to strengthen protections of America’s established court processes to ensure that early-stage technologies, products, and services, such these, do not either inadvertently or intentionally corrupt the integrity of the nation’s judicial system.

While these technologies can offer great opportunities such as mass data management, their programmed algorithms must not be relied on to perform tasks that require the expertise, critical reasoning, and interpretive skills unique to specifically trained people such as NCRA certified stenographic court reporters in the United States, and not questionable digital transcribing firms abroad.

“The judicial system, and society as a whole, depends heavily on the services that only a qualified, NCRA certified stenographic court reporter can provide,” Wenhold said. “By making this document public facing, NCRA is taking that bold step into advocating for our legal system to remain free from foreign interference and in turn, a secure democracy.”

View the NCRA white paper and the executive summary “Emerging Ethical and Legal Issues Related to the Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR), Voice Cloning, and Digital Audio Recording of Legal Proceedings” here.

Court reporters and captioners rely on the latest in technology to use stenographic machines to capture the spoken word and translate it into written text in real time. These professionals work both in and out of the courtroom recording legal cases and depositions, providing live captioning of events, and assisting members of the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities with gaining access to information, entertainment, educational opportunities, and more.

To arrange an interview with a working court reporter, captioner, legal videographer, or a current court reporting student, or to learn more about the lucrative and flexible court reporting or captioning professions and the many job opportunities currently available, contact [email protected].

About NCRA: The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) has been internationally recognized for promoting excellence among those who capture and convert the spoken word to text for 124 years. It is recognized as the premier educational and informational resource for its members and the public. Through its actively involved membership of more than 12,000, NCRA impacts legislative issues and the global marketplace. NCRA will mark its 125 year anniversary in 2024.

NCRA’s STRONG Committee promotes stenographic captioning and court reporting as the best means to maintain the accuracy of the record. One of its missions is to combat false proclamations that digital, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) methods of capturing the spoken word are equal to superior to stenographic means and/or that these methods are less expensive.

Forbes has named court reporting as one of the best career options that do not require a traditional four-year degree. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the court reporting field is expected to be one of the fastest areas of projected employment growth across all occupations. According to 247/, the court reporting profession ranks sixth out of 25 careers with the lowest unemployment rate, just 0.7 percent. Career information about the court reporting profession—one of the leading career options that do not require a traditional four-year degree—can be found at NCRA

Annemarie Roketenetz
National Court Reporters Association
[email protected]
Source: National Court Reporters Association

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