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AI and the Law: Driving New Regulations and Changing the Legal Profession

By Dick Weisinger

Artificial Intelligence is upending the legal system. On the one hand is the big question about how courts will be able to regulate and make judgements about many aspects of our lives that are being transformed by AI. The focus is on ethical, social and legal issues. Then there is the transformation of the legal profession itself. AI is transforming how lawyers do their jobs.

Lawmakers, particularly in the US, have been adrift in coming up with a strategy for how to regulate technology. Technology is advancing at a speed that significantly outpaces the speed by which lawmakers can respond. Issues around regulating AI include ownership (Who owns the things that AI produces?), liability (Who is at fault when AI causes damage?), fairness (Who determines that an AI algoirithm is unbiased and fair?), and privacy (Who controls the data collected and used by AI?).

James Dempsey, former executive director at the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology, wrote that “among its many profound implications, AI poses challenges for law, corporate and government policy, and ethics. Courts are being asked to apply traditional legal doctrines to complex and purportedly unexplainable systems. Policymakers are deciding whether to modify existing regulatory structures to specifically address AI. Overarching these granular choices is the public policy challenge of promoting and shaping the development of AI in ways that will be beneficial while mitigating its negative impacts.”

And, as for the effect on lawyers themselves, Nick Whitehouse, GM of the Onit AI Center of Excellence, said that “AI can have a tremendous amount of value for corporate legal departments and law firms. Consider areas of routine work that involve a lot of data. AI brings efficiency to many traditionally time-consuming tasks, like due diligence, document preparation, eDiscovery, transcription, contract lifecycle management, and billing. With the time saved, lawyers can focus on more complex and meaningful tasks than administrative or manual work.”

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