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Artificial Intelligence (AI) – Opportunity or Threat?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) – Opportunity or Threat?

The advent of artificial intelligence will undoubtedly be remembered as a key moment in the transformation of the legal profession. Software such as Google’s AlphaGo, capable of learning human thought patterns and logical reasoning and applying it to huge amounts of data, are already on track to revolutionise the legal sector.

While historically resistant to change, the legal community has welcomed AI with open arms. Perhaps, this is because AI is in line with the backcloth of innovation, the new buzz word in legal circles. Some of the biggest and most prolific clients worldwide are large technology groups. Tech savvy and disruptive, they are always keen to optimise every aspect of their business, including minimising legal costs. They are therefore welcoming of, and often demand, technological solutions that can facilitate faster and more cost-effective legal advice.

The introduction of complex AI solutions also presents firms with unparalleled benefits. A clear example of this is provided by Ross Intelligence, a tech company using IBM’s Watson software to carry out legal research tasks. Watson can analyse over a billion documents a second, allowing it to conduct in a matter of hours, legal research that would have taken a team of junior lawyers several months. The software is very user friendly and lawyers can instruct Watson in plain English- no knowledge of coding required! Although for now AI seems to be utilised to carry out admin and optimise processes, Google’s AlphaGo has shown us how effective and fast computers have become at learning from humans. Less science fiction, the digital lawyer of the future might only be around the corner!

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