A National Press Foundation webinar has heard that artificial intelligence (AI) will revolutionise the legal profession in terms of efficiency, and remove much drudge work.
The webinar (14 June) heard from AI experts that AI won’t replace legal jobs – at least not right away.
“I don’t think it’s going to happen for a while, and I think it’s going to happen quite suddenly when it does arrive,” said Calum Chace, author of Surviving AI.
Lots of jobs
“And until then, there’s going to be lots of jobs for people.
“As long as there are things that humans can do that machines can’t do, there’ll be lots of jobs.”
Individual jobs may be automated, which will create wealth that can, in turn, create new jobs, Chace said.
In the meantime, AI can make legal jobs easier, he added, saving time on legal research, document drafting and summarisations.
“People will be able to do more interesting billable work because the drudge work will be done by machines,” he said.
AI has “an innumerable number of benefits,” said John D Villasenor, a professor of law, electrical engineering and public policy at UCLA.
As with the internet, it comes with risks, but the benefits outweigh the problems, the academic said.
A common pitfall of AI is ‘hallucinations’, which occur when AI invents inaccurate material.
Unchecked, hallucinations can severely damage legal cases or reputations, and can cause public trust to evaporate.
In New York, two lawyers may already face punishment for including false AI-generated legal precedents in a court filing, the webinar heard.
AI developers can create protocols to reduce hallucinations, but such mitigations require investment.
The use of watermarks is not a fool-proof method for checking the authenticity of AI-generated images, the webinar heard.
“There really isn’t a way to verify these things at this point, and that is a real concern that I think everyone should be looking at,” said Jennifer Conrad, a reporter for Inc.
However, existing consumer protections and copyright law still apply.
The EU has implemented a notification requirement when companies use AI. If the US adopts similar policies, it will likely employ a state and local ‘patchwork’, similar to data-privacy law in the States.