Thursday, February 17, 2005

PC Simulations in Court

PC simulations are used for many studies from weather and seismic activity, to nuclear explosions. However, using PC simulations in court has not been a common practice. I found an article this morning which discusses a trial taking place in Seattle where a man is being charged with vehicular homicide and a software simulation is being used to aid in the prosecution. I wonder how far out of hand this practice will become before sufficient regulation and certification is put in place to make it fair, if that is even possible. I can see a situation where the weekly software update was done improperly and the crime will have to be re-tried due to simulation error. I wonder if the convicted would be able to make a case against the application programmer for any mistake or suffering if the case were later overturned.

In the Seattle trial, a man is being charged with vehicular homicide after taking a ride with a friend in his new sports car. Witnesses saw the pair leave with the friend driving the car, who was then killed in an accident involving a tree and a mailbox. The prosecution is using PC-Crash, a computer simulation, to try to prove that the occupants switched roles and that the survivor of the crash was driving and caused the crash.

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