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‘Gas gating’ mechanism created to continuously pulls CO2 from exhaust fumes

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gas gating mechanism created to continuously pulls co2 from exhaust fumes

A ‘gas gating’ mechanism designed to continuously pull carbon dioxide from exhaust fumes could help curb greenhouse gas pollution, scientists claim. 

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology devised a system that could be fitted to industrial machines to cut their emissions and capture carbon. 

The electrical system uses honeycomb-like membranes to continuously separate gases without the need for moving parts – making it small and very efficient.

MIT developers imagine it being widely used, not just against CO2, but a variety of chemical separation and purification situations – to improve the atmosphere.

On the right is a porous anodized aluminum oxide membrane. The left side shows the same membrane after coating it with a thin layer of gold, making the membrane conductive for electrochemical gas gating

On the right is a porous anodized aluminum oxide membrane. The left side shows the same membrane after coating it with a thin layer of gold, making the membrane conductive for electrochemical gas gating

Study author Professor Trevor Hatton said there were a number of possible applications for the gating mechanism including in controlling chemical reactions. 

‘Potentially, such a system could make an important contribution toward limiting emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and even direct-air capture of carbon dioxide that has already been emitted,’ he said.

The mechanism’s key component is an electrochemically-assisted membrane whose gas pores can be open and closed at will using relatively little energy.

Formed in a honeycomb-like structure, the membranes house hexagonal openings that allow gas molecules to flow in and out when in the open state.

But, when a thin layer of metal electrically shuts the pores of the membrane the gas passage can be blocked in a nifty new application of ‘electroplating.’

When in motion, the device shoots zinc ions between the two gating membranes simultaneously blocking one side while opening the other.

Meanwhile, an absorbent layer between the device’s two membranes soaks up carbon dioxide until it reaches its capacity – and releases the gas before the process seamlessly resumes.

The mechanism is currently at the prototype stage but could be used in the not too distant future on industrial exhaust systems – and may work to clean ambient air. 

Potentially, such a system could make an important contribution toward limiting emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and even direct-air capture of carbon dioxide that has already been emitted. 

When in motion, the device shoots zinc ions between the two gating membranes simultaneously blocking one side while opening the other

When in motion, the device shoots zinc ions between the two gating membranes simultaneously blocking one side while opening the other

Professor Hatton believes the contraption is a big improvement on previous models.

‘In a traditional multicolumn system absorption beds alternately need to be shut down, purged, and then regenerated, before being exposed again to the feed gas to begin the next adsorption cycle,’ he said.

‘In the new system, the purging steps are not required, and the steps all occur cleanly within the unit itself.’

While the team’s initial focus was on the challenge of separating carbon dioxide from a stream of gases, the system could actually be adapted to many chemical separation and purification processes.

The developers hope industrial machines such as floor cleaners could harness the device to help slash carbon emissions and cleanse the air we breathe.

The research was published in the journal Science Advances.

Revealed: MailOnline dissects the impact greenhouse gases have on the planet – and what is being done to stop air pollution

Emissions

Carbon dioxide

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is one of the biggest contributors to global warming. After the gas is released into the atmosphere it stays there, making it difficult for heat to escape – and warming up the planet in the process. 

It is primarily released from burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas, as well as cement production. 

The average monthly concentration of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere, as of April 2019, is 413 parts per million (ppm). Before the Industrial Revolution, the concentration was just 280 ppm. 

CO2 concentration has fluctuated over the last 800,000 years between 180 to 280ppm, but has been vastly accelerated by pollution caused by humans. 

Nitrogen dioxide 

The gas nitrogen dioxide (NO2) comes from burning fossil fuels, car exhaust emissions and the use of nitrogen-based fertilisers used in agriculture.

Although there is far less NO2 in the atmosphere than CO2, it is between 200 and 300 times more effective at trapping heat.

Sulfur dioxide 

Sulfur dioxide (SO2) also primarily comes from fossil fuel burning, but can also be released from car exhausts.

SO2 can react with water, oxygen and other chemicals in the atmosphere to cause acid rain. 

Carbon monoxide 

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an indirect greenhouse gas as it reacts with hydroxyl radicals, removing them. Hydroxyl radicals reduce the lifetime of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. 

Particulates

What is particulate matter?

Particulate matter refers to tiny parts of solids or liquid materials in the air. 

Some are visible, such as dust, whereas others cannot be seen by the naked eye. 

Materials such as metals, microplastics, soil and chemicals can be in particulate matter.

Particulate matter (or PM) is described in micrometres. The two main ones mentioned in reports and studies are PM10 (less than 10 micrometres) and PM2.5 (less than 2.5 micrometres).

Air pollution comes from burning fossil fuels, cars, cement making and agriculture

Air pollution comes from burning fossil fuels, cars, cement making and agriculture 

Scientists measure the rate of particulates in the air by cubic metre.

Particulate matter is sent into the air by a number of processes including burning fossil fuels, driving cars and steel making.

Why are particulates dangerous?

Particulates are dangerous because those less than 10 micrometres in diameter can get deep into your lungs, or even pass into your bloodstream. Particulates are found in higher concentrations in urban areas, particularly along main roads. 

Health impact

What sort of health problems can pollution cause?

According to the World Health Organization, a third of deaths from stroke, lung cancer and heart disease can be linked to air pollution. 

Some of the effects of air pollution on the body are not understood, but pollution may increase inflammation which narrows the arteries leading to heart attacks or strokes. 

As well as this, almost one in 10 lung cancer cases in the UK are caused by air pollution. 

Particulates find their way into the lungs and get lodged there, causing inflammation and damage. As well as this, some chemicals in particulates that make their way into the body can cause cancer. 

Deaths from pollution 

Around seven million people die prematurely because of air pollution every year. Pollution can cause a number of issues including asthma attacks, strokes, various cancers and cardiovascular problems. 

14742896 7236653 Chris Skidmore the acting energy minister has claimed the costs  a 2 1562858502026

 

Asthma triggers

Air pollution can cause problems for asthma sufferers for a number of reasons. Pollutants in traffic fumes can irritate the airways, and particulates can get into your lungs and throat and make these areas inflamed. 

Problems in pregnancy 

Women exposed to air pollution before getting pregnant are nearly 20 per cent more likely to have babies with birth defects, research suggested in January 2018.

Living within 3.1 miles (5km) of a highly-polluted area one month before conceiving makes women more likely to give birth to babies with defects such as cleft palates or lips, a study by University of Cincinnati found.

For every 0.01mg/m3 increase in fine air particles, birth defects rise by 19 per cent, the research adds. 

Previous research suggests this causes birth defects as a result of women suffering inflammation and ‘internal stress’. 

What is being done to tackle air pollution? 

Paris agreement on climate change

The Paris Agreement, which was first signed in 2015, is an international agreement to control and limit climate change. 

It hopes to hold the increase in the global average temperature to below 2°C (3.6ºF) ‘and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C (2.7°F)’.

Carbon neutral by 2050 

The UK government has announced plans to make the country carbon neutral by 2050. 

They plan to do this by planting more trees and by installing ‘carbon capture’ technology at the source of the pollution.

Some critics are worried that this first option will be used by the government to export its carbon offsetting to other countries.

International carbon credits let nations continue emitting carbon while paying for trees to be planted elsewhere, balancing out their emissions.

No new petrol or diesel vehicles by 2040

In 2017, the UK government announced the sale of new petrol and diesel cars would be banned by 2040.  

However,  MPs on the climate change committee have urged the government to bring the ban forward to 2030, as by then they will have an equivalent range and price.

The Paris Agreement, which was first signed in 2015, is an international agreement to control and limit climate change. Pictured: air pollution over Paris in 2019.

The Paris Agreement, which was first signed in 2015, is an international agreement to control and limit climate change. Pictured: air pollution over Paris in 2019.

Norway’s electric car subsidies

The speedy electrification of Norway’s automotive fleet is attributed mainly to generous state subsidies. Electric cars are almost entirely exempt from the heavy taxes imposed on petrol and diesel cars, which makes them competitively priced.

A VW Golf with a standard combustion engine costs nearly 334,000 kroner (34,500 euros, $38,600), while its electric cousin the e-Golf costs 326,000 kroner thanks to a lower tax quotient. 

Criticisms of inaction on climate change

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has said there is a ‘shocking’ lack of Government preparation for the risks to the country from climate change. 

The committee assessed 33 areas where the risks of climate change had to be addressed – from flood resilience of properties to impacts on farmland and supply chains – and found no real progress in any of them.

The UK is not prepared for 2°C of warming, the level at which countries have pledged to curb temperature rises, let alone a 4°C rise, which is possible if greenhouse gases are not cut globally, the committee said.

It added that cities need more green spaces to stop the urban ‘heat island’ effect, and to prevent floods by soaking up heavy rainfall. 

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Rare white-tailed eagle is pictured flying over the south coast of England 

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rare white tailed eagle is pictured flying over the south coast of england

An eagle driven to extinction in the UK due to illegal killing more than 100 years ago has been pictured flying over the Cornwall coast for the first time.

Others of the species, the white-tailed eagles, were spotted earlier this year in Somerset, Kent and Norfolk, with two birds – known as G318 and C393 – flying as far north as Yorkshire.

However, this is the first time one of the species has ventured to Cornwall since its reintroduction.  

White-tailed eagle seen over Hawkers Cove in Padstow, Cornwall. The rare eagle disappeared from the UK during the early 20th century but has been brought back from the brink

White-tailed eagle seen over Hawkers Cove in Padstow, Cornwall. The rare eagle disappeared from the UK during the early 20th century but has been brought back from the brink

The incredibly rare white-tailed eagle (haliaeetus albicilla) disappeared from the UK during the early 20th century but has been brought back from the brink.

The species is the largest bird of prey in the UK with a wingspan pushing eight feet (2.4 metres) and a body length of up to three feet (90cm). 

It suffered huge declines in Europe during the 19th and 20th centuries and it is still persecuted by gamekeepers because it feeds on birds, rabbits and hares. 

However, numbers are now growing after the legally-protected birds were bred in captivity on the Isle of Wight and released into the wild last year. 

New images show one of the juveniles bred on the Isle of Wight making its maiden flight across the south coast to Cornwall. 

‘The latest satellite data shows this was G463, one of the 2020 juveniles from the Isle of Wight,’ tweeted UK organisation the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation, which undertakes species restoration work. 

‘It subsequently flew west to Land’s End before turning back around and heading east.

‘This is the bird’s first exploratory flight away from the Isle of Wight.’

Although the species was pushed to extinction in the UK, it is very widely distributed, with strongholds in Russia and Norway. 

The bird of prey was reintroduced off the west coast of Scotland in the 1970s and is now mostly found in Scotland and Ireland, but scarcely over English land. 

The present population, including the new sightings over Cornwall, are descended from reintroduced birds.

Stunning images show one of the juveniles making its maiden flight across the south coast to Cornwall

Stunning images show one of the juveniles making its maiden flight across the south coast to Cornwall

White-tailed eagles were once widespread along the whole of the south coast of England, from Cornwall to Kent, before being driven to extinction by relentless persecution that began in the Middle Ages.

White-tailed eagles were once widespread along the whole of the south coast of England, from Cornwall to Kent, before being driven to extinction by relentless persecution that began in the Middle Ages.

Graeme Willetts, who captured the images in Padstow, said: ‘The pictures were taken as we were walking back to the car along the cliff path at hawkers cove.

‘It was a breathtaking moment for all of us and we were only saying how little we’d seen up to that point.

‘It was pure chance, right place, right time. We had initially gone out in hopes to see some migrant birds perhaps blown into that side of the coast.’

A juvenile white-tailed eagle, the UK's largest bird of prey, which is set to return to area it has been absent from for almost 240 years with release programme on the Isle of Wight

A juvenile white-tailed eagle, the UK’s largest bird of prey, which is set to return to area it has been absent from for almost 240 years with release programme on the Isle of Wight

The white-tailed eagle boasts a brown body plumage with a pale head and neck, and the tail feathers of adults are white.

They are found along rocky coastlines, estuaries and lochs near the sea, although they will also range inland, especially juveniles.

As well as targeting fish in the spring and summer months, the white-tailed eagles also target water birds later in the year as a source of food, as well as rabbits and hares.

White-tailed eagles are ‘versatile and opportunistic hunters’, the RSPB says, sometimes pirating food from other birds and even otters.  

White-tailed eagles are versatile and opportunistic hunters and scavengers, sometimes pirating food from other birds and even otters

White-tailed eagles are versatile and opportunistic hunters and scavengers, sometimes pirating food from other birds and even otters

They are now protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 and the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004.

As of 2015, they have been classified as red under the Birds of Conservation Concern list – the most critical rating ahead of amber and green, meaning it’s ‘globally threatened’. 

They are now being tracked by conservationists from the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation and Forestry England via GPS. 

Campaigners are calling for anyone who spots the white-tailed eagles on English shores to take photographs or record sightings. 

Photographers can send the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation details of a white-tailed eagle sighting on the organisation’s website.     

REINTRODUCING THE WHITE TAILED SEA EAGLE 

White-tailed eagles, or white-tailed sea eagles, were once widespread along the whole of the south coast of England, from Cornwall to Kent, before being driven to extinction by relentless persecution that began in the Middle Ages. 

It was believed that they could deplete populations of game animals, as they feed on various birds, rabbits and hares.

The species suffered huge declines in Europe during the 19th and 20th centuries and was driven to extinction in the UK, mainly through persecution. 

It has since been reintroduced to the west coast of Scotland and more recently to the east coast, and a reintroduction programme is currently underway in Ireland. 

As with many birds of prey, the species suffered huge losses in the 1950s and 1960s due to organochlorine pesticides such as DDT, which caused egg shell thinning.  

The last pair bred on Culver Cliff on the Isle of Wight in 1780. 

Following the reintroduction of White-tailed Eagles to Scotland – where there are now over 130 breeding pairs – Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation was granted licences by Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage to begin an English reintroduction. 

In the UK white tailed eagles are strictly protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004. 

It is an offence to intentionally take, injure or kill a white-tailed eagle or to take, damage or destroy its nest, eggs or young. 

It is also an offence to intentionally or recklessly disturb the birds close to their nest during the breeding season. 

Violation can result in a fine of up to £5000 and/or a prison sentence of up to six months. 

Despite this, threats still exist. The main current threat in the UK is persecution, predominantly through poisoning, something which has overshadowed the otherwise successful reintroduction programmes. 

Illegal egg collection remains an additional threat. 

Re-establishing a population of the species on the south coast helps to restore ‘a lost species’, Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation said. 

The project will help to link populations in Scotland and Ireland with those in the Netherlands and France. 

In Scotland the best places to see white-tailed eagles are Mull, Skye and parts of the northwest Highlands. 

Many parts of southern England are capable of supporting breeding and wintering White-tailed Eagles, but the Isle of Wight was considered the most suitable location for the reintroduction. 

It is the last known breeding site of the species in southern England and is located close to highly suitable foraging areas in the Solent and surrounding estuaries.

It also has numerous potential nesting sites in woods and cliffs and quiet areas for immature birds. 

And it is well positioned to facilitate the dispersal of eagles both west and east along the coast to sites such as Poole Harbour in Dorset and Pagham Harbour in West Sussex. 

 Source: Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation/RSPB

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Space bubble: Three astronauts will return to Earth tomorrow after almost 200 days on the ISS

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space bubble three astronauts will return to earth tomorrow after almost 200 days on the iss

Having been in their own very special ‘social bubble’ for almost six months, three astronauts will return from the International Space Station tomorrow.

NASA‘s Chris Cassidy and Russia‘s Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner have been crewing the orbiting laboratory as part of its so-called Expedition 63.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic had already begun when the trio arrived on the ISS on April 9, 2020, the global health crisis was not as severe as it is now.

In preparation for his return in a Soyuz capsule tomorrow evening, Mr Cassidy tweeted two pictures of himself donning a facemask onboard the space station. 

Having been in their own very special 'social bubble' for almost six months, three astronauts will return from the International Space Station tomorrow. In preparation for his return in a Soyuz capsule, NASA's Chris Cassidy tweeted pictures of himself donning a facemask

Having been in their own very special 'social bubble' for almost six months, three astronauts will return from the International Space Station tomorrow. In preparation for his return in a Soyuz capsule, NASA's Chris Cassidy tweeted pictures of himself donning a facemask

Having been in their own very special ‘social bubble’ for almost six months, three astronauts will return from the International Space Station tomorrow. In preparation for his return in a Soyuz capsule, NASA’s Chris Cassidy tweeted pictures of himself donning a facemask

‘Masked up on @Space_Station!’ Mr Cassidy tweeted on October 19, 2020.

‘Training myself for my new reality when I get home on Wednesday.’

As with all visitors to the International Space Station, Mr Cassidy and his crewmates went into isolation prior to their trip.

This precaution helps to ensure that astronauts do not accidentally bring newly contracted diseases onboard the station, where they could develop to endanger their health and those of the other crewmembers.

Normally this quarantine last for a couple of weeks prior to lift-off, but given the COVID-19 crisis, Mr Cassidy and colleagues were isolated for a whole month.

As part of Expedition 63, the trio have performed a series of spacewalks, undertaken routine maintenance on the station, carried out various experiments, installed a new space toilet and even identified the source of a mysterious air leak

NASA's Chris Cassidy (pictured, left) and Russia's Anatoly Ivanishin (middle) and Ivan Vagner (right) have been crewing the orbiting laboratory as part of its so-called Expedition 63

NASA's Chris Cassidy (pictured, left) and Russia's Anatoly Ivanishin (middle) and Ivan Vagner (right) have been crewing the orbiting laboratory as part of its so-called Expedition 63

NASA’s Chris Cassidy (pictured, left) and Russia’s Anatoly Ivanishin (middle) and Ivan Vagner (right) have been crewing the orbiting laboratory as part of its so-called Expedition 63

Although the COVID-19 pandemic had already begun when the trio arrived on the ISS, pictured, on April 9, 2020, the global health crisis was not as severe as it is now

Although the COVID-19 pandemic had already begun when the trio arrived on the ISS, pictured, on April 9, 2020, the global health crisis was not as severe as it is now

Although the COVID-19 pandemic had already begun when the trio arrived on the ISS, pictured, on April 9, 2020, the global health crisis was not as severe as it is now

In preparation for his return in a Soyuz capsule tomorrow evening, Mr Cassidy, pictured, tweeted photographs of himself donning a facemask onboard the space station

In preparation for his return in a Soyuz capsule tomorrow evening, Mr Cassidy, pictured, tweeted photographs of himself donning a facemask onboard the space station

In preparation for his return in a Soyuz capsule tomorrow evening, Mr Cassidy, pictured, tweeted photographs of himself donning a facemask onboard the space station

Expedition 63 will return from the International Space Station aboard the Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft, undocking at around 19:30 ET on Wednesday (00:30 BST Thursday).

The capsule is expected to touch down in Kazakhstan shortly before 23:00 ET on Wednesday (04:00 BST Thursday).

Their journey back to Earth will be available to watch via a livestream on NASA TV. 

EXPLAINED: THE $100 BILLION INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION SITS 250 MILES ABOVE THE EARTH

The International Space Station (ISS) is a $100 billion (£80 billion) science and engineering laboratory that orbits 250 miles (400 km) above Earth.

It has been permanently staffed by rotating crews of astronauts and cosmonauts since November 2000. 

Research conducted aboard the ISS often requires one or more of the unusual conditions present in low Earth orbit, such as low-gravity or oxygen.

ISS studies have investigated human research, space medicine, life sciences, physical sciences, astronomy and meteorology.

The US space agency, Nasa, spends about $3 billion (£2.4 billion) a year on the space station program, a level of funding that is endorsed by the Trump administration and Congress.

A U.S. House of Representatives committee that oversees Nasa has begun looking at whether to extend the program beyond 2024.

Alternatively the money could be used to speed up planned human space initiatives to the moon and Mars.

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Robot judges will replace humans in the courtroom ‘in 50 years’

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robot judges will replace humans in the courtroom in 50 years

Robots that analyse a defendant’s body language to determine signs of guilt will replace judges by the year 2070, according to an artificial intelligence expert. 

Writer and speaker on AI Terence Mauri believes the machines will be able to detect physical and psychological signs of dishonesty with 99.9 per cent accuracy. 

He claims they will be polite, speak every known language fluently and will be able to detect signs of lying that couldn’t be detected by a human.

Robot judges will have cameras that capture and identify irregular speech patterns, unusually high increases in body temperature and hand and eye movements. 

Terence Mauri (pictured) is an AI expert, author and founder of Hack Future Lab, a global think tank. He believes robots could replace the majority of human judges and become a common feature of most criminal and civil hearings in England and Wales by the early 2070s

Terence Mauri (pictured) is an AI expert, author and founder of Hack Future Lab, a global think tank. He believes robots could replace the majority of human judges and become a common feature of most criminal and civil hearings in England and Wales by the early 2070s

Terence Mauri (pictured) is an AI expert, author and founder of Hack Future Lab, a global think tank. He believes robots could replace the majority of human judges and become a common feature of most criminal and civil hearings in England and Wales by the early 2070s

Data will be then analysed to provide an ‘error-free’ judgement of whether a defendant or witness is telling the truth.

Mauri expects the machines to be ‘commonplace’ in most criminal and civil hearings in England and Wales in 50 years, according to the Telegraph, based on his two-year study. 

‘AI has created unprecedented changes in the way that people live and work by performing complex problems with a level of consistency and speed that is unmatched by human intelligence,’ said Mauri, who runs London-based policy institute Hack Future Lab.

‘In a legal setting, AI will usher in a new, fairer form of digital justice whereby human emotion, bias and error will become a thing of the past.

‘Hearings will be quicker and the innocent will be far less likely to be convicted of a crime they did not commit.’

Robot judges will mean innocent people in the courtroom will be far less likely to be convicted of a crime they did not commit

Robot judges will mean innocent people in the courtroom will be far less likely to be convicted of a crime they did not commit

Robot judges will mean innocent people in the courtroom will be far less likely to be convicted of a crime they did not commit

Most senior judges won’t have their jobs taken, however, because they will be needed to set legally binding precedents, create new laws and oversee appeals.

And while barristers will be safe to argue their client’s case, other legal roles – including solicitors, chartered legal executives, paralegals, legal secretaries, and court clerks – will become taken by machines too by 2070.

AI will also replace human judges in criminal and civil hearings in the magistrates courts, county courts and family courts where a jury is not required, Mauri thinks.

Last year, former Justice Secretary David Gauke said AI could provide ‘simple tools to provide straightforward justice’. 

However, he said the UK is ‘some way off from seeing bewigged robot judges presiding in court rooms’. 

Former Secretary of State for Justice David Gauke backed the idea of technology like AI 'providing straightforward justice'

Former Secretary of State for Justice David Gauke backed the idea of technology like AI 'providing straightforward justice'

Former Secretary of State for Justice David Gauke backed the idea of technology like AI ‘providing straightforward justice’

‘We cannot ignore the speed at which technology is spreading and being integrated into all of our lives is throwing up some big ethical, regulatory and social questions,’ Gauke told an audience of legal professionals. ‘We need to tackle these head on.’

‘Human lawyers have emotional intelligence and are regulated, with bias that is accounted for. 

‘AI, on the other hand, operates on facts and numbers alone, is currently unregulated and data is only as unbiased as the hands and heads of its creators.’

The government announced £2 million in funding for new emerging technologies in the legal sector in June 2019, but was tight-lipped on what these technologies would be or if it would include robot personnel in the courtroom. 

The fledgling technology has already been used in Estonia, where an AI-powered judge has been used to settle small court claims of up to £6,000, freeing up human professionals to work on bigger cases.

The judge is fed legal documents, which it analyses before coming to a decision based on its pre-programmed algorithms. 

Meanwhile, China has been using a system of artificial-intelligence judges, cyber-courts and verdicts delivered on chat apps since 2017. 

A 'mobile court' offered on popular Chinese social media platform WeChat has handled more than three million legal cases or other judicial procedures since its launch in March

A 'mobile court' offered on popular Chinese social media platform WeChat has handled more than three million legal cases or other judicial procedures since its launch in March

A ‘mobile court’ offered on popular Chinese social media platform WeChat has handled more than three million legal cases or other judicial procedures since its launch in March

In a demonstration, authorities showed how the Hangzhou Internet Court operates, featuring an online interface with litigants appearing by video chat as an AI judge, complete with on-screen avatar, that prompts them to present their cases.  

Cases handled at the court include online trade disputes, copyright cases, and e-commerce product liability claims. 

The ‘cyber court’ is offered on popular social media platform WeChat, which is better known for its chat and mobile payment capabilities. 

China is encouraging digitisation to streamline case-handling within its sprawling court system using cyberspace and technologies like blockchain and cloud computing, China’s Supreme People’s Court said in a policy paper. 

WILL YOUR JOB BE TAKEN BY A ROBOT? PHYSICAL JOBS ARE AT THE GREATEST RISK

Physical jobs in predictable environments, including machine-operators and fast-food workers, are the most likely to be replaced by robots.

Management consultancy firm McKinsey, based in New York, focused on the amount of jobs that would be lost to automation, and what professions were most at risk.

The report said collecting and processing data are two other categories of activities that increasingly can be done better and faster with machines. 

This could displace large amounts of labour – for instance, in mortgages, paralegal work, accounting, and back-office transaction processing.

Conversely, jobs in unpredictable environments are least are risk.

The report added: ‘Occupations such as gardeners, plumbers, or providers of child- and eldercare – will also generally see less automation by 2030, because they are technically difficult to automate and often command relatively lower wages, which makes automation a less attractive business proposition.’

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