Artificial brain predicts death-row executions

That is the title of New Scientist article about the brain and death penalty. (Access to full article requires a $5.95 subscription to the magazine. You can read the study abstract or full study for free.)

Intro to New Scientist article…

WHICH inmates on death row will eventually be executed? Many never make the final journey from prison cell to execution chamber – but nobody really understands who will be spared.

Until now. A new computer system can predict which death row prisoners will live and which will be killed – with chilling accuracy. And its dispassionate analysis has confirmed suspicions that the people most likely to be executed are those who have had the least schooling, rather than those who have committed the most heinous crimes.

The US, the only western democracy to retain the death penalty, executes only a small proportion of the people it sentences to death. For instance, just 53 of the 3228 inmates on death row were executed in 2006.

So how were those 53 chosen? “We couldn’t see any clear patterns in the data,” says computer scientist Stamos Karamouzis, who has been investigating this question …

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Hooman Hedayati

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