Artificial Intelligence is the process in which computer systems perform tasks independently that would otherwise require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, and decision-making.This replication of human intelligence is what makes computer systems ‘artificial’.
There are many uses for this technology in the legal sector, through legal tech and beyond.
On the first view, this technology and the law have more in common than one would think. AI is heavily dependent on datasets in order to analyse them for patterns to replicate the intelligence and activity of humans. This reliance on precedent is very similar to current legal systems which use findings from previous cases in order to build upon future ones. This could have major implications for the trial process as these AI machines will be able to predict the outcomes of trials following these patterns. This would lead to an increased number of out-of-court settlements as machines would be able to predict the most likely outcome of the trial.
Another example of AI benefiting the legal sector would be the automation of contracting. Often a long and drawn-out process, the process of contract review is tedious and takes time away from the other stages of litigation. By using AI, we can run previous contracts through machine-learning programs in order to generate new contracts that are tailored to the client. Several forms of administrative tasks such as document control and filing will also be carried out at a faster rate through AI use.
Due to the automated nature of AI and its reliance on previous datasets, there is a concern that biases present in previous data systems will be replicated in future systems. If the AI machine is analysing the results of human-operated processes, then the AI itself will also carry out those same discriminations. This has drastic repercussions for fields such as criminal prosecution, health, and recruitment where biases could impact the most vulnerable members of society.
Another concern surrounds the level of explicit consent required for such AI services to still respect privacy and protection. Mass analysis of personal data or appearance would be very difficult to carry out if the consent of each person were needed, effectively neutralising the speed-based benefits of AI. With AI being reliant on datasets that involve other humans, this could be a clear obstacle if these AI machines are to become widespread. An additional issue would be not impeding on the privacy of those who do not possess ‘digital literacy’ as their consent relies on their initial understanding of said practises and whether they would be able to broaden their understanding of this growing technology in order to grant permission to access their personal data.
A need to protect the vulnerable is another issue that could contest AI. With this technology being used to automate programs, this could lead to a number of people being made redundant and unemployed due to AI being able to carry out administrative tasks in less time without need for a wage. Other areas that require human intervention and subjective analysis such as healthcare or welfare could pose an issue if integrated with machine-learning AI.
One of the benefits of this new age of legal tech is the AI’s prediction accuracy. Technology-assisted review tools such as predictive coding can analyse data to help lawyers find any potential risks to help avoid any legal issues later down the line. This solution of determining the outcome of multiple scenarios will become more common in law firms as it will greatly reduce time and costs spent on appeals and the different stages of the litigation process.
Due Diligence is the process of investigating or auditing to confirm facts or details of a matter under consideration. It requires an examination of multiple financial records and documents before entering into a proposed transaction with another party. With the help of AI, this possession that would otherwise be time consuming, tedious, and filled with human error will now be greatly reduced in time and mistakes. The presence of AI in law firms for cases like this would allow lawyers to focus on other areas of their position and result in faster, more efficient outcomes.
AI will also help lawyers with the research of previous legal cases. Whilst other uses of technology have greatly sped up several processes in the office, legal research still requires a lot of manual labour and time spent to find patterns in previous litigation. AI can be the solution this by being able to analyse hundreds of previous reports and cases within minutes and identify the relevant information for lawyers.
These are the kinds of questions you could be asked about AI to test your commercial awareness:
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