Lawyers Might Be Automated Too

November 14, 2016

The worry with artificial intelligence is that it will automate jobs and leave people without a way to earn income.  The general belief is that AI will automate manufacturing, retail, food service, and other industries, but what about law?  One would think that lawyers would never lose their jobs, because a human is required to navigate litigation and represent a person in court, right?  According to The Inquirer article, “UCL Creates AI ‘Lawbot’ That Rules on Cases With Surprising Accuracy” lawyers might be automated too.

On a level akin to Watson, researchers at University College London, led by Dr. Nikoalos Aletras, created an algorithm that peruses case information and can predict accurate verdicts.  The UCL team fed the algorithm litigation information from cases about torture, degrading treatment, privacy, and fair trials.  They hope the algorithm will be used to identify patterns in human rights abuses.

Dr. Aletras does not think AI will replace judges and lawyers, but it could be used as a tool to identify patterns in cases with specific outcomes.  The algorithm has a 79% accuracy rate, which is not bad considering the amount of documentation involved.  Also the downside is:

At a wider level, although 79 percent is a bit more ED-209 than we’d like for now, it does suggest that we’re a long way towards being able to install an ethical and moral code that would allow AI to … you know, not kill us and that.  With so many doomsayers warning us that the closer that we get to the so-called ‘singularity’ between humans and machines, the more likely we are to be toast as a race, it’s something of a good news story to see what’s being done to ensure AI stays on the straight and narrow.

Automation in the legal arena is a strong possibility for when “…implementation and interpretation of the law that is required, less so than the fact themselves.”  The human element is still needed to decide cases, but perhaps it would cut down on the amount of light verdicts for pedophiles, sex traffickers, rapists, and other bad guys.  It does make one wonder what alternative fields lawyers would consider?

Whitney Grace, November 14, 2016
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


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