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Interview with Jaap van den Herik by BNVKI

Recently, Jaap van den Herik, professor emeritus Law and IT, was interviewed by the BNVKI (Benelux Association for Artificial Intelligence).

Definition of AI

Jaap van den Herik can be considered one of the founding fathers of the BNVKI, since together with other founders, he was in the lead of the organization. In 1981, their ambition was to place AI prominently on the research agenda in the Netherlands.

In the interview, professor van der Herik is asked about his definition of AI. He answers this by saying that just as AI has evolved with time, so has his definition.
Since ‘learning’ and ‘deep learning’ entered the scene, professor van den Herik feels inclined to separate the term ‘artificial intelligence’ from ‘natural intelligence’. He stated in the interview that ‘intelligence’ refers to clever behavior or a clever solution to a complex problem. But he argues that we should distinguish human intelligence and artificial intelligence from each other. 

 ‘AI is the ability to address issues in the real world in an adequate way’.



Future predictions

During the interview, the advances of over four decades of AI were recapitulated. Moreover, it is discussed what might be ahead of us. “Discussing past AI developments is relatively easy; predicting the future is more challenging.” Professor van den Herik predicted in 1991 that machines would judge court cases and replace judges in the future (RR, 1991).

“Currently, we are still some eighty years from having AI judges. I cannot foresee all the intermediate challenges ahead of us, but I trust these will be investigated adequately once raised. I cannot think of arguments stopping AI judges from being realized.”

Read the whole interview here

Jaap van den Herik (1947) is professor of Computer Science and Law at the Faculty of Science (since 2014) and at the Faculty of Law (since 1988). His main task is to be Chair of the Board of Directors of the Leiden Centre of Data Science (LCDS). Van den Herik’s research interests include artificial intelligence, intelligent legal systems, big data and social innovation.

The Leiden Legal Technologies Program aims to create lawyers of the future and teach them the skills they need to excel in their work. Where the practice of law can no longer be practised with head and hand, legal technology comes into play. This not only makes the practice of law more efficient, but also better.

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