In the late 1600s, a German Attorney G. W. Leibniz theorized that machines would someday use a binary system to calculate numbers, and he envisioned a partnership between Artificial Intelligence (AI) and lawyers and accurately described the benefits that AI now provides to the legal profession. According to him, "it is unworthy of excellent men to lose hours like slaves in the labour of calculation which could safely be relegated to anyone else if machines were used."
AI refers to developing computer systems that use huge sets of data to perform intelligent tasks such as understanding the natural language, reasoning and decision making. It refers to a phenomenon where the machine acts like a blueprint to the human mind, by being able to understand, analyse and learn from the data through specially designed algorithms. AI was introduced in the 1950s and since then it has made remarkable progress in various fields. From Alexa to Smart driven cars AI has made life easy for human beings. Some of the areas where AI can be prominently seen are as follows:
- Smartphones, Smart Home Devices, Smart Keyboard Apps
- Social media feeds and online ads network
- Navigation and travel
Given the fact that AI has foot stepped in almost all walks of life, legal domain is no exception. Such introduction of technological advancement will aid the lawyers in conducting legal research in an efficient and timely manner. Further by adopting AI lawyers and firms will be able to focus more on advising their clients and taking up complex issues/cases. Additionally, this software has the capability to minimise the paperwork to a major extent and is competent enough to store huge data and manage the same with great efficiency.
In recent times itself, an American law firm has hired a robot called ROSS to assist their teams in legal research. This robot is built upon Watson, IBM's cognitive computer (a question answering computer system capable of answering questions posed in natural language) and with the support of Watson's cognitive computing and natural language processing capabilities, lawyers can ask ROSS their research related questions. The robot then reads through the law, gathers evidence, draws inferences and returns highly relevant, evidence-based answers. Additionally, it also monitors the law round the clock and notifies users of the new court decisions that can affect their case. AI systems have been adopted by several firms worldwide, but much needs to be done in many countries.
Areas where AI is helping the Legal Industry
It is believed by many that AI has an untapped potential within the legal system. A combination of AI and law will witness immense growth in the near future. The efficiency of AI can be for the following activities:
Due Diligence – To review a contract, conduct legal research or performing electronic discovery functions to do due diligence.
Prediction Technology – To predict the probable outcome of the cases being adjudicated before the Court of Law.
Legal Analytics – To provide data points from past case laws, and to provide judgements and precedent law to be used by lawyers in their present cases.
Automation of Documentation – Submitting the required documents which you wish to incorporate in your legal document get your documents ready within minutes.
Intellectual Property – To provide insights into the IP portfolios i.e. search and registration of a trademark, Patent, Copyrights etc.
Electronic Billing – Artificial intelligence legal software helps the lawyer and firms in preparing the invoices as per the work done by them.
Myths about AI in Legal System
Will AI replace lawyers?
This is a classic fear of many but the same remains unfounded till date. Even though AI software has the capabilities of analysing the laws and giving evidence-based results, the applicability of such analysis and research, the interpretation of law and the implementation of the same is required to be done by a lawyer. The AI can aid in providing materials, references and even provide the likelihood of judgements basis the data stored. However, the final execution and strategy for a particular case requires human brain and skill.
Thus, though AI software will provide its assistance in doing the primary work the ultimate and final decision making will depend on the skills and abilities of the lawyers, needless to say that the responsibility on the judiciary will also substantially increase while passing the orders.
Is AI difficult to implement?
AI unlike any other software requires basic tuning and training to acquire specialised technical skills. Such technically qualified team will be an asset to any person from the legal profession.
Advantages of AI in Legal System
Time Saver – In order to solve a case or draft a contract one needs to go through thousands of pages and documents and requires extensive research. Therefore, use of AI software can reduce the time and effort of the lawyers.
Error Reduction – While doing manual research or analysis there is always a high risk of committing errors. However, AI technology has the potential to reduce the errors to zero and this in turn will save the lawyer after-effects of drafting an erroneous document.
Cost Effective – Installation of an AI in the initial stage may require huge investments, however in the long term it will be very cost-effective as the productivity of the people from within the legal profession will be enhanced.
Will demand higher level of intellect and proficiency – The introduction of AI in legal profession will demand higher level of intellect and proficiency in their practice which maybe scares in the initial period.
Disadvantages of AI in Legal System
Risk and damages – With every document being uploaded on the AI, there arises a higher risk of cyber threats as such data can be easily hacked or can be stolen.
Prone to Damage – At the end of the day the AI is a software which can create a huge mess due to little damage and the said damage may not be reversible. Therefore, though AI proves to be errorless, it cannot guarantee that the system will not cause any nuisance to the operator.
Ethical concerns – AI unlike any other software, is created by combination of multiple algorithms and will show or give results basis the data fed or captured by it. One needs to remember that AI itself does not have the brains to think on its own and the same cannot be used in cases which carry sentimental value or are of sensitive nature.
AI includes the ability to review, generalise, discriminate, learn from the past, and find patterns and relations thereby responding dynamically to the changing situations. AI without the human supervisory control may lead to an unregulated environment and cause unfortunate outcomes.
Therefore trust-worthy AI needs to have a defined ethical purpose and technically robust and reliable systems.
With having a promising future in the legal profession, it can be said that AI though being a continuously developing process may also disrupt societies in a manner which is not fully in vision yet. Therefore, AI and Machine learning is a dynamic process which is constantly evolving and gets better as it gets bigger; requires deployment of specialised hardware and human skills; have access to data and the same is being continuously upgraded; and with advancement can have improved algorithms.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.