Legal practice is all about communication and information. Artificial intelligence (AI) enables improved and efficient use of information systems to commoditize basic and repetitive advice common to many legal issues. However, AI is misunderstood and has been the subject of a negative press. It has been wrongly associated with robots but robots occupy a special position in the “fear of the unknown” spectrum of human experience.
The thought of using algorithms to substitute for human decisions suggests an irreversible threat to democratic governance and the development of opaque decision making undertaken by computerized overlords.
The conclusion is just that – human decision making is fallible and can deliver outcomes that are perverse, wrong, expensive and often tragic.
Certainly, AI can provide more accurate data and do so better and faster than humans. If decision making is, as it should be, based on the objective accuracy and reliability of data, surely there is an argument for the decision-making process to call upon the systems that can deliver that data.
Experts define it to include technologies that seek to mimic cognitive functions humans typically associate with other human minds.
The deployment of AI into law has been with us for some time, and there’s an inevitable need to extend it further. AI systems will enable the smarter use of lawyer’s time and expertise. It will free lawyers up from repetitive tasks and enable far more targeted advice based on more accurate data analytics.
There are a number of ways in which AI can be deployed in legal practice; including:
Work Systems – a significant portion of a lawyer’s work is automatable. Therefore, if the work is automated and the processing of information is done by a machine it means that the lawyer’s time is released to attend to more nuanced and specialist advice.
Service Delivery – if a lawyer decides to automate certain processes it means that the client may have an alternative way of interfacing with the law firm. This way the interaction between the lawyer and the client can proceed without any hassle.
Client Interaction – instead of the traditional face-to-face model or the telephone or the use of e-mail, there is an additional facility, and it enables a lot of work to be done.
Legal Expert Systems
Legal expert systems are programs that replicate the thinking and actions of an expert on a specific question or task. A legal expert system is a domain-specific expert system that uses artificial intelligence to emulate the decision-making abilities of a human expert in the field of law.
Legal expert systems can also support administrative processes, facilitate decision-making processes, automate rule-based analyses and exchange information directly with citizen-users. The benefits for clients are improved outcomes, reduced risks, and reduced costs.
Legal expert systems are one part of a number of different AI applications. But what they do is that they allow the repetitive aspect of legal work – gathering information and applying fixed criteria to ascertain rule application – to be automated.
Predictive analytics is the practice of extracting information from existing data sets to determine patterns and predict future outcomes and trends. These tools add to a stable of technological innovation. Ravel Law focuses on easier, data-driven legal research, layering analytics on top of archives of case law data.
AI systems also introduce new alternatives for developing legal services or tools to provide answers to legal problems. This involves predictive analytics and intelligence augmentation.
Machine learning is a type of artificial intelligence (AI) that provides computers with the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed. In general, machine learning algorithms are designed to detect patterns in data and then apply these patterns to new data in order to automate particular tasks.
What AI is NOT – the demise of the “robolawyer”
The media often equate AI with robots. This raises the inevitable spectre that lawyers will be replaced by mechanical men carrying briefcases and certain changes will arise from AI as in, the elimination of the lawyer jobs etc.
Regardless of this perception, people should know that the greater use of technology will not at all reduce the requirement for lawyers since judgment is a skill.