Home » Washington state judge blocks use of AI-enhanced video as evidence in possible first-of-its-kind ruling

Washington state judge blocks use of AI-enhanced video as evidence in possible first-of-its-kind ruling

by NBC News

A Washington state judge overseeing a triple murder case barred the use of video enhanced by artificial intelligence as evidence in a ruling that experts said may be the first-of-its-kind in a United States criminal court.

The ruling, signed Friday by King County Superior Court Judge Leroy McCullogh and first reported by NBC News, described the technology as novel and said it relies on “opaque methods to represent what the AI model ‘thinks’ should be shown.”

“This Court finds that admission of this Al-enhanced evidence would lead to a confusion of the issues and a muddling of eyewitness testimony, and could lead to a time-consuming trial within a trial about the non-peer-reviewable-process used by the AI model,” the judge wrote in the ruling that was posted to the docket Monday.

The ruling comes as artificial intelligence and its uses — including the proliferation of deepfakes on social media and in political campaigns — quickly evolve, and as state and federal lawmakers grapple with the potential dangers posed by the technology.

Lawyers for a man accused of opening fire outside a Seattle-area bar in 2021, killing three people and wounding two, had sought to introduce cellphone video enhanced by machine learning software, court filings show. Machine learning is a particular field within artificial intelligence that has risen to prominence in recent years as the underpinning of most modern AI systems.

Prosecutors in the case said there appeared to be no legal precedent allowing the technology in a U.S. criminal court, according to a February filing in King County Superior Court. Jonathan Hak, a solicitor and barrister in Canada and an expert on image-based evidence in the United States and elsewhere, said this was the first case he was aware of where a criminal court had weighed in on the matter.

The defendant, Joshua Puloka, 46, has claimed self-defense in the Sept. 26 killings, with his lawyers saying in a court filing in February that he had been trying to…

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