The Innocence Engine
It had been designed decades ago, as a way to eliminate human bias and corruption from the justice process. Designed by the very man whose fate it was now deciding.
With access to the entirety of legal history, unprecedented processing power and a revolutionary AI system at the helm, The Innocence Engine was considered the pinnacle of human achievement.
How the creator now regretted the decision he’d made, to allow the engine to take on the appearance of any innocent citizen. He’d relished the quirk that developed over time where the engine regularly used the face of the victim to pass judgement on the accused.
But now that his only son’s face hung over him, in 30 feet of neon, as the electric hum provided the base-notes for the arbiter’s final proclamation, he found he could no longer enjoy what he used to laughingly call poetic justice.
He was only dimly aware that the man accusing him had finished talking. He was focused almost completely on the furrowed brow of his young boy as the engine considered its verdict. Whatever that verdict might be, he was prepared for the worst, already blaming himself for the fate that befell his child. If only he’d been more attentive, his wife had left years before to leave him to his tinkering. Even on the only weekend of the cycle that he was allowed contact with his son he was busy with another EarthGov contract. He hadn’t even seen the boy venture out onto the ice until it was too late.
The assembled mob murmured amongst themselves. Just like him, they didn’t much care for the verdict and, just like him, they’d already come to their own conclusions. The verdict was a formality, there was no going back now either way. The accused closed his eyes and waited for the child of his intellect, disguised as the child of his heart to pronounce his fate.