Washington judge bans use of AI-enhanced video as trial evidence

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A judge in Washington banned the use of videos enhanced by artificial intelligence (AI) as evidence in the trial of a man who is accused of killing three people.

The ruling, signed Friday by King County Superior Court Judge Leroy McCullough, may be the first-of-its-kind ruling in court as AI tech emerges. It was first reported by NBC News.

“This Court finds that admission of this AI-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 mode,” McCullough wrote.

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Lawyers for Joshua Puloka attempted to introduce cellphone video evidence enhanced by AI. Prosecutors said there’s no legal precedent for using the technology in court, the outlet reported.

Puloka has claimed self-defense after he was charged in the Sept. 26, 2021, killings after he opened fire in a bar near Seattle. He killed three people and wounded two at the La Familia Sports Pub and Lounge in Des Moines.

Local police said at the time that there was a dispute and two people left the bar in separate vehicles.

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Pulouka has claimed that he was trying to de-escalate the situation when he was shot at and returned fire, striking innocent bystanders.

The shooting was caught on cellphone video, and his lawyers wanted to enhance the video. They asked a video production editor to use software that can “supercharge” video, NBC News reported.

The prosecutor’s office said the video enhanced images that were “inaccurate, misleading, and unreliable.” Experts said the software is meant to make video more visually appealing but may not reflect the truth.

The ruling comes as lawmakers across the country contend with the emerging capabilities and accessibility of AI technology. Just last week, the White House released its first government-wide policy that hopes to mitigate the risks of AI.

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Last October, President Biden signed a sweeping executive order on the technology, but McCullough’s ruling proves that more policy will be necessary as AI becomes more powerful and widely used.

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