Updated: Jun 13
With the changing trend in the world of technology and robotics, artificial intelligence (hereinafter referred to as “AI”) is playing an important role in our professional lives. AI refers to the intelligent behavior that a machine emulates. The term "artificial intelligence" includes information systems inspired by human biological systems, which include multiple technologies, such as machine learning, computer vision, deep learning, natural language processing, and so on. Much has been written about AI but what about its relation to the law and administration? This article envisages an overview of the developments and working of AI and its implications in law and administration.
Since the mid-twentieth century, researchers have had an active history of taking ideas from computer science and AI and applying them to the law. This history of AI in law coincides with the broader arc of AI research. Like AI broadly, the application of AI to the law has begun to focus on knowledge-based representation and rule-based legal systems. Most of the research came from university laboratories, with the active participation of Europe. From the 1970s to the 1990s, most of the early AI-and-Law projects were formally modeling legal reasoning in computer-processed form and focused on computationally modeling statutes and legal rules. Since 1987, the International Conference of Artificial Intelligence and Law (ICAIL) has held regular conferences regarding AI-based practices in law.
AI developments in India
NITI Aayog in June 2018 has developed a National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence in India. The outline of the Government's plan and roadmap for developing the sector in India is provided in this report. It has issued a cabinet note to raise Rs 7,500 crore to build a cloud computing platform called AIRAWAT and Research Institutions. NITI Aayog has already circulated a note to the Expeditionary Finance Committee for consideration, as informed by a senior government official. Artificial Intelligence contributes not only to India's economic development but also to social development. A report by the Economic Times in the year 2019 stated that India witnessed a growth of over 200% in startups. It has also been observed that AI is one of the fastest-growing domains. Nearly 3000 startups involve the working of AI and Machine Learning domains. Private sectors played a major role by investing $150 million in India's AI sector; 70% of companies in India will be using AI by 2020. Increasing investments and deals in automation, AI, machine learning and Big Data are developing the startup landscape in the country.
Will AI replace legal professionals?
Altman Weil's 2017 Law Firm in transition survey reported that the legal market is facing increased price competition, lack of efficiency in service delivery, the influx of new competitors, and the inescapable potential of technological innovation. Therefore, to stay updated, traditional law firms and law departments need to understand the potential of AI and legal technology. Lawyers need to embrace the unique, evolving value of AI and should build a legal culture that reinforces human value- lawyers implementing independent professional judgment, focusing on meaningful, complex, and mission-critical work for their clients. AI will not replace legal professionals but legal professionals who don't use AI will be replaced by those who use it.
AI in the Practice of Law
AI is gradually paving its way into the legal sector due to technological advancement and the rise in the legal profession. In the legal profession, AI has many uses, some of them include, legal research, which is usually a time-consuming task. Legal practitioners may take time to find a reliable legal source. Therefore, AI can be used to support a critical argument for a case. This can be done through developing software that can respond to important aspects of the law. AI can be developed to take proper care to avoid confusion and conflict which is called due diligence and which is a necessary step to be taken before proceeding with the case. This process is long and tedious but with the use of AI, it can be performed efficiently. AI can be used for “prediction technology”, lawyers and other professionals in legal matters are using machine-learning systems to make predictions by using algorithms and predicting the outcome of cases and depending on data rather than instinct, predicting their chances of winning a case.
AI can also be used to indicate a high-risk document and to figure out the level of risk involved with the document if a client decides to undergo a trial. AI can be further used for legal analysis. Documentation of cases and dock entries is a very important step of litigation but this process is time-consuming. Therefore, AI can be used. The documents can be arranged in a particular order which is required by the lawyers. Law firms can use AI to review contracts they have entered into. With the help of AI, risky clauses in a contract can be identified. It can also be used for contract generation. AI can set a basic template, which can be developed into a contract based on the facts and issues of the case. It can be used for patent applications as filing a patent application is a tedious process. Therefore, Intellectual Property lawyers can use AI to review, draft, and for filing patent applications. In cases involving sexual harassment, a person can train the AI software to look for keywords that probably appear in emails concerning harassment, or the system can use the information that appeared in e-mails of previous harassment cases and can find out similar words. Many current AI approaches require problematic areas that have underlying structures and patterns. While this may apply to a particular subset of the practice of law, such as document review, there are many practices including abstraction, conceptualization, and other cognitive functions that the current AI technology is not good at.
At the end of the day, it is still a human, not a computer, who decides whether a document is helpful and relevant to the law and the case at hand or not. As discussed above, this is a great example of the way many sophisticated AI systems still seek humans in the loop and offer the lessons of the use of AI in law more widely. This area of law and legal practice demands judgment, human rationale, and critical reasoning; it is difficult to replace it with the current state of AI technology. AI is not given a legal entity status. Therefore, if any fault arises from a technical or functional glitch, no one will be held liable for it. This creates an imbalance in society. Hence, AI should be used judiciously.
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Author - Ahmed Hamza, Student at Jamia Millia Islamia University,New Delhi.