Just technology: emergent technologies and the justice system… and what the public thinks about it


We are currently living through what some have proclaimed “the fourth industrial revolution.”1 Technological innovation in fields such as robotics, the growth of computing power, artificial intelligence, 3-D printing and the internet of things are reshaping parts of our economy and society today. 2 Artificial intelligence is no longer a conceptual, theoretical idea— it exists in the smart phones we carry around in our pockets. Our home appliances and devices are increasingly connected and exchanging data. The world where cars drive themselves and three dimensional objects are printed is already here.


This report highlights a number of emerging technologies that are beginning to reshape how the justice system impacts the daily lives of the public. This report explores the potential impact of those technologies— for both good or ill— in making our justice system fairer and more effective. We look at:


‘Big data’, data analytics and facial recognition surveillance in crime prevention and policing;


  •  The use of online tools to expand legal advice;
  • The use of online and video technology in criminal courts;
  • Artificial intelligence and decision making in justice;
  • Electronic monitoring in offender supervision.


We seek to explore, by examining public attitudes, whether these technological developments will shift how citizens perceive and relate to the institutions within the justice system.