Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming every aspect of our lives, from autocorrect, which prevents us from sending embarrassing messages, to keeping fraudulent transactions off our bank accounts. And, of course, we can’t leave out self-driving cars. By the looks of it, artificial intelligence and law are also closely intertwined. In fact, AI is making a massive difference in the legal sector.
But does this mean that AI will take over the legal sector replacing law professionals such as paralegals, lawyers, and judges? Will it be another classic argument of robots taking over where we need to invoke Asimov’s laws? Hold off your judgment (pun intended) as we first examine what AI can and can’t do in the legal services industry.
4 Things That AI Systems Can Do Better Than Law Professionals
At the risk of bruising someone’s ego, the truth is that there are just some things that AI systems can do better than their human counterparts. Here are four areas where AI machines can excel:
1. Conduct Legal Research
Researchers conducted a study to compare the performance of AI to human lawyers in annotating five standard nondisclosure agreements (NDAs). LawGeex Artificial Intelligence, which had never processed the test materials before, was used. At the end of the exercise, lawyers achieved an average accuracy rate of 85%, while the AI system was 94% accurate.
While the nine-point difference in accuracy can be shrugged off by the less meticulous, the speed at which the machine completed the task demands attention. The average time it took for the lawyers to finish annotating the NDAs was 92 minutes. In contrast, annotation only took the AI machine 26 seconds. AI can process and index more data in far less time compared to lawyers. That means that lawyers and paralegals won’t have to spend too much of their time doing repetitive work. They can focus on more crucial aspects of the job, such as strategy development.
2. Cross-Examine an Expert Witness
Instead of spending a lot of time digging all available information about an expert witness, lawyers can use AI to gather all cases where the said witness has testified. It can pull up the expert’s opinions in all of the cases, and even how the jury reacted and how the testimonies affected case outcomes.
Lawyers can use all of the information gathered by AI systems during trials. That is one effective way of proving that artificial intelligence and law can work hand in hand.
3. Assist in Jury Selection
Biases can mar jury selection, and judges and lawyers might overlook important cues and facts that could influence the judicial process. In a drunk-driving case, for example, it may be essential to select jurors that have no history of accidents to ensure fairness.
An AI system can quickly collect all pertinent information about potential jurors, including their accident history, political alliances, previous trials served (if any), and the verdicts to the said trials. Obtaining a list of qualified and fair jurors is possible in a matter of seconds.
4. Conduct Client Interviews
Electronic diaries became popular in the 1980s, which gave way to personal blogs at the onset of the Internet. That tells us that there are times when it is easier for people to talk to a machine than to another human being. So client interviews may be more effective when done by an intelligent machine. All it takes is for lawyers to teach the systems to ask the right questions.
4 Things Lawyers Can Do Better Than AI
Now that you know the pros of using AI in the field of law, here are some things no AI system can do better than lawyers.
1. Think Strategically and Creatively
Computers, no matter how advanced, can’t think outside the box. They can’t judge potential outcomes based on experience, whether their own or those of others. And even if the machines are fed all possible outcomes of an action, they can’t mimic how a particular kind of human would react.
2. Resolve Conflicts and Negotiate
Computers aren’t generally designed to improvise, which is a critical requirement in conflict resolution and negotiation. And let’s face it, more often than not, lawyers are hired to resolve conflicts and negotiate.
Human lawyers can read into statements to determine the real intentions and priorities of each party. They can thus adjust their offers to the opposing party to satisfy those intentions and priorities. They can judge when it’s time to push and prod and when to give in.
3. Empathize and Demonstrate Emotional Intelligence
While AI systems can recognize faces, they have yet to successfully read feelings based on facial movements. Human lawyers, meanwhile, are trained to accurately gauge emotional subtexts, apply their intuition, and use delicately worded language.
In a sense, the ability to tell how a person feels lets lawyers judge if proceedings are going well for that person or not. As such, they can shift tactics to make things go their way. They can also often tell if someone is lying or being manipulated, which are critical skills.
4. Interpret Gray Areas
While computers will always do better than humans in analyzing quantifiable data, they can’t scale gray areas. They aren’t capable of gauging the morality of an act unlike their human counterparts. AI systems aren’t able to decide how to respond as well as human lawyers would when there is no clear right or wrong answer.
Because of the accuracy and speed at which AI systems can process vast amounts of data, law firms that adopt the technology could reap tremendous benefits. Artificial intelligence and law can work together. But the question still stands: Will AI systems replace human lawyers?
Despite the four areas where AI systems excelled more than lawyers, there are still aspects of the legal industry that are better done by humans. Depositions, for instance, are, at times, more effective than facts. There’s no substitute for conventional wisdom and critical thinking, too. And so, law students would still need to be taught how to think like lawyers in addition to maneuvering AI technologies that would make their jobs easier.