What’s Artificial About Intelligence? The Ethical and Practical Considerations When Lawyers Use AI Technology

artificial intelligence

The legal profession is constantly changing, often prompted by new technology. Typically lawyers will not adopt new technology until market forces make doing so necessary to effectively represent clients. Under pressure to manage costs and work efficiently, lawyers must continue to adopt smarter and more efficient technological solutions that assist in delivering legal services.

Analytical tools that rely on artificial intelligence software can assist lawyers in a wide range of document-intensive tasks that are critical to negotiating a transaction, conducting an internal investigation, or determining the evidence relevant to the prosecution or defense of a claim. AI uses algorithms to (1) identify and process patterns in data, increasing the accuracy and quality of the identification as more queries are processed (machine-based learning); (2) comprehend and respond to human language patterns (natural language processing); and/or (3) make predictions based on patterns found in sample data (predictive analytics).

In everyday life we are comfortable enjoying the benefits of artificial intelligence tools: we ask Siri, Alexa, or Google Now to help us find the best nearby diner; we seek service assistance from AI-driven “chatbot” customer service representatives; we use smart home devices to adjust thermostats and lighting; and we trust Spotify, Pandora, and Google Home to select a playlist of songs based on a single request. Yet lawyers are reluctant to integrate AI analytical tools into legal practice, concerned that tools that rely on AI will lead to “artificial” and unreliable results, or may improperly replace a lawyer’s professional judgment for computer-manipulated results.

Read More: James Q. Walker – Richards Kibbe & Orbe LLP | Big Law Business