The American Court System Essay Example

Visuals are one of the most convincing pieces of evidence that can be used to justify a claim. When images are manipulated, individuals begin to question their optic senses and doubt the value of pictures, even though they have long been regarded as an indisputable truth. The prevalence of synthetic images, which are false or corrupted images, challenges the veracity of visual proof in every area of contemporary society. In particular, the American justice system, which has relied on photographic evidence in many cases, has been questioning the utility of pictures as an authentic form of evidence. New synthetic-detecting software must be developed in order to protect the validity of photographic evidence and, in turn, the the justice of the American court system.

In an article about synthetic images, In the Age of A.I., Is Seeing Still Believing?, Joshua Rothman analyzes the effect of synthetic images on contemporary society and questions the validity of visual information. He does this by presenting readers with a history of the development of synthetic pictures and videos, posing issues surrounding these imitative visuals, and indicating several possible solutions for the problems caused by fake images. To begin his article, Rothman describes the need for synthetic images by reporting a kidnapping case that caused Hany Farid, a photo-forensics expert, to develop new image synthesis technology. After developing a solid explanation for the reasoning behind the creation of synthesis technology, Rothman changes the focus of his article by comparing the positive and negative effects of synthetic media on specific elements of American society. For instance, Rothman gives an example of how politics can be negatively affected through the creation of videos in which politicians seem to speak words that were spoken by someone else. However, this comparison between the positive and negative effects of synthetic media is put on hold as Rothman continues to discuss his original description of how synthetic technology developed. After this explanation, Farid, the synthetic media developer involved in the kidnapping case, implicates that the use of synthetic images was not a new practice, but warns audiences about the increased democratization of synthetic media. Using Farid’s concerns as a platform to produce a claim, Rothman ceases his argument for a paragraph, stopping to remind his audience of the immense consequences that come with societal distrust in visual images. Rothman goes on to discuss the precision that is incorporated in producing fake images by using several stories and opinions from Alexei A. Efros to strengthen his analysis of synthetic technology. Due to Efros’ extended knowledge of synthetic images, Rothman asks to have a fake image of himself to be created, allowing him to relate personally to the development and effect of synthetic media. Rothman’s personal experience leads him into the culmination of his argument, which is that the trend of uploading massive amounts of data to the internet has equipped individuals who want to create synthetic media with the right tools to make fake images almost indistinguishable from real images. In contemporary society, just about anyone is able to create any type of media by analyzing the patterns of the data on the internet. Rothman then provides a solution for the issue of being unable to distinguish fake media from real media by affirming that technology that detects and tracks synthetic images is being created in order to protect national security and allow society to continue to trust that visuals are true. Ending his article, Rothman discusses the issues with synthetic media in society, citing recent “fake news” and synthetic videos as matters that polarize people from reality. Finally, Rothman concludes his article by implying that the issues caused by synthetic media will not fade easily, prompting his readers to question how society will be shaped by synthetic media in the future.

The article In the Age of A.I., Is Seeing Still Believing? infers that synthetic images negatively affect American society; this is especially true for the American justice system. Visual evidence is utilized heavily in the American court system and is regarded as truth in contemporary times. Pictures are often used by lawyers to simplify their argument or used to convince jurors of a fact. While discussing the legal process for admitting photos as evidence, Andrew Meyers, an attorney from Massachusetts, accounts for the widespread use of pictures in courtrooms across America, stating that “Photos are used so often it’s easy to forget the fundamental requirements of getting visual evidence admitted into court.” (Meyers, 2018). However, synthetic images now can manipulate the truth behind photos, having the ability to distort justice and damage trust in visual evidence in American courts. In a study about technology in the American court system, Zachariah Perry, a business law attorney, highlights the issues and solutions that arise from synthetic images in court. The negative effect of synthetic images on visual evidence is clear in Perry’s argument when he states, “Yet it has never been easier for photos to misrepresent the truth than it is now. So great is the risk of a photograph misrepresenting the truth that an international leader in digital imaging was compelled to declare, ―photographs, as evidence of reality, are dead.” (Perry, 2009, pg 117). This abandonment of visual evidence in court allows for the prevalence of other forms of proof, such as eyewitness accounts and physical evidence. While physical evidence, such as DNA testing, is extremely accurate, eyewitness accounts are highly faulty. In a study conducted by the Innocence Project, eyewitnesses identifications have “Contributed to approximately 70% of the more than 350 wrongful convictions in the United States overturned by post-conviction DNA evidence.” (Innocence Project, 2017). If left to eyewitness accounts, American courts would convict a large number of innocent individuals of crimes and enable the true criminals to continue to damage American society. In order to combat this issue, more advanced technology that has the ability to detect fake images must be developed. While Rothman addressed this issue in his article In the Age of A.I., Is Seeing Still Believing?, he also asserts that the speed of the detection technology cannot develop at the pace of synthesizing technology’s growth. (Rothman, 2018). The only conspicuous solution to this problem is to focus more intensely on creating technology that has the ability to detect synthetic images, to use that technology in courtrooms, and inform jurors of the authenticity of each picture. Otherwise, the justice system in America will be forced to disregard photographic evidence or to believe fake images that have the ability to persuade jurors of faulty arguments, corrupting American justice.

Indisputably, synthetic images have negatively affected the American justice system by creating a sense of doubt in visual evidence. The only way to combat this critical issue is to develop advanced technology that can accurately distinguish false images from authentic images. This will allow people within the American court system to make just decisions more frequently than they would without visual evidence. Identifying fake images and maintaining justice within the court system is extremely significant for Americans, as the protection of individual rights is highly valued in American culture. Ultimately, it is essential for the American government to adapt to and maintain pace with technological development in order to maintain justice and uphold individual rights within America.


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