Rumours, conspiracy theories, urban legends; especially in C 19 and social media times, one could spend the whole day on them. Often, the low level of education of those spreading them is striking, and you think you are unreceptive.
Far from it! The following rumour has made it as far as the Bundestag, it doesn't get any higher than that.
For years, AI (artificial intelligence) has been on everyone's lips, even among lawyers. Every decent German chamber district has already organised a conference on the subject. It is feared that not only the legal profession will eventually be replaced by software, but also the judicial profession.
And so an intelligent rumour is developing:
On 25.3.2019, the online magazine "Wired" published an article entitled "Can AI Be a Fair Judge in Court ? Estonia thinks so" (which is still available today https://www.wired.com/search/q=%22Can%20AI%20be%20a%20fair%20Judge%20in%20Court?%22&page=1&sort=score, into the net. According to this, a court procedure is said to have been introduced in Estonia in which AI would make a decision for dispute values of up to 7000 euros without human intervention.
Deutschlandfunk picked up on this news and reported in turn on 27.3.2019 in its programme "AI judge in Estonia makes judgements by algorithm." Deutschlandfunk is a public service broadcaster, so the Scientific Service of the Bundestag probably saw no reason for a review and introduced the Estonian robot judge to the Bundestag in its report on "State of affairs: artificial intelligence in the judiciary-International overview". The scientific service of the Bundestag is at the disposal of the MPs for their opinion-forming and ensures scientifically sound decisions.
To Prof. Dr. Maximilian Herberger, who obviously does not suffer from a lack of wisdom in his old age, the Estonian model seemed Spanish and he picked up the phone. He called the Ministry of Justice in Tallinn and received the enlightening answer that the article was repeatedly mentioned, but that the report that robot judges were used for smaller cases was simply wrong. The extent to which AI could support Estonian judges in their work was being examined.
From this true story, one can conclude: a use of natural intelligence, like Herberger's, can set many things right. One would also like to see more diligence on the part of the scientific service in the Bundestag, especially when it comes to decisions that affect the state.
(The editors have taken the story - not a rumour! - from Prof. Herberger's article in NJW-aktuell, 37/2021, page 19. It really did not belong to be retold, but simply transcribed, it is truly unique).