Want a favourable ruling in court? Catch a judge right after lunch.

This is a good one.

If you want a favourable ruling in court, catch a judge after they eat. Or at least, early in the day.

The following chart comes to us from Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s big report about artificial intelligence — which the firm says will be a $US153 billion industry by decade’s end — and originally appeared in a 2011 research paper from Shai Danzigera, Jonathan Levavb, and Liora Avnaim-Pessoa.

In its report, BAML writes:

One major advantage of robots is the elimination of human biases. Researcher Shai Danziger showed that Israeli judges’ percentage of favourable rulings jumps to ~65% after meal breaks, and declines gradually to 0 leaning into the next break. Many occupations, including medical diagnostics and fraud detection would all require impartial decision making, as well as the ability to detect trends in large data sets. The comparable advantage of an unbiased algorithmic solutions is currently tested in several fields today.

And so the implication here is that part of why the firm is so bullish on the potential for artificial intelligence is that humans, on balance, sort of suck.

Humans get tired and then make bad decisions. Whereas a robot, not having things like emotions or proteins, doesn’t suffer similar pitfalls.

Of course, BAML isn’t recommending that judges be replaced by robots, but merely pointing out that humans are ripe for, you guessed it, disruption.

As for the original research from Danzinger et. al. — which was edited by Danny Kahneman, the Nobel Prize winner who wrote “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” which is perhaps the most influential book on thinking published in the last several decades — the authors wrote, “Our findings add to the literature that documents how experts are not immune to the influence of extraneous irrelevant information.

“Indeed, the caricature that justice is what the judge ate for breakfast might be an appropriate caricature for human decisionmaking in general.”

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