The desire to build a machine that could reason has been around since the 1300s. Since then, its progress trajectory has been very slow--until the last hundred years. And in the past decade, its speed has seemed exponential. From 2013 to 2014 alone, the investment in AI startups increased by 300%. In the next year, roughly six billion devices, such as cars, appliances, and more, will be needing AI platform support.
These numbers are starting to worry professionals. And with books like The Future of the Professions being released, there is a strong case for concern. Could robots become smarter than humans and replace them? It's a fair question. AI is complicated and intricate. It's difficult to understand. And it's because of this that fear of AI has emerged. When more comprehensively understood, professionals will see that AI isn't magic. It's a tool. And when they begin to use this tool, they'll see that the real point of it is to make them better at their job rather than replace them.
1. The Opportunity For Specialization
The truth about AI is that it will change, restructure and enhance all professions, law not excluded. The work that lawyers and other legal professionals are required to accomplish will evolve. Yes, AI does have the potential to reduce the legal workforce--mostly lower level legal professionals. On the other hand, if used correctly, AI could enable the same number of professionals, or even more, to do even more work. The work will likely not only be different, but also more advanced and specialized. In other words, AI opens the door for legal professionals to pursue niche fields.
This type of specialization in law due to AI isn't just speculation. It has happened in other fields. In the technology sector, the engineers who have built AI systems are being anything but discarded. In the medical industry, cancer diagnosis AI machines are in no way replacing oncologists at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. In the automotive industry, computerized cars aren't making mechanics dispensable. AI changes how professionals work, it doesn't make them irrelevant.
2. Improved Electronic Discovery
Electronic discovery has become one of the standout benefits of AI in law. Through a combination of machine learning methods and natural language abilities, Technology-assisted review can sift through immense amounts of data more consistently, cheaply, efficiently and effectively than simple man-power. This paired with a mobile form or checklist from the likes of InTouchCheck have the ability to speed of legal processes immensely. And this isn't just conjecture. Researchers have compared TARs effectiveness to other methods and it shines through every time.
With this tool it is essential to keep in mind that 'assisted' is an integral part of the process. This assistance goes both ways. First and foremost, the lawyer is assisted by the technology. Second, the technology requires the assistance of the legal professional. It must be trained to know what is relevant and irrelevant. This, in turn, shows that AI is anything but replacing lawyers. In fact, it opens up a new legal route for lawyers to take. Firms will begin to need attorneys who understand at least basic statistical mathematics and principles behind the methods.
3. Better Legal Research
Legal research is another area of law that can gain an advantage from AI. Advances in natural language processing have created the ability to scale algorithms to cover large swaths of data and even turn out visualizations that make the results much more useable. This process, like electronic discovery, requires human assistance. The machine must be fed data sets and then trained to give appropriate search results. Large corporations like IBM and Thomson Reuters are currently working to build these engines for commercial use. The plan is to provide more valuable results than platforms like Lexis and Westlaw. In fact, they are using these platforms as data troves and inviting users to evaluate results in order to perfect the process.
4. The Ability To Better Serve Clients
As soon as law firms accept that AI is not a super-intelligence system or magical process, they can accept it for what it is--a tool. AI is here and it's here to stay, as an application and a platform. It is only when firms choose to remain uninformed that they run the risk of AI replacing them. If, however, they opt for utilizing artificial intelligence for both legal research and electronic discovery, they will find that not only will they enjoy pursuing more interesting and engaging aspects of the legal profession, but their clients will be pleased that they are keeping up with industry and global innovations.
Electronic discovery and legal research AI tools are being developed. They will be used by law firms around the world. This will then lead to further advancements and more integration of AI into law. Firms have the ability to begin embracing these innovations now. They can utilize deep learning and machine learning opportunities. They can begin preparing their staff for these inevitable changes. The law professionals who do this will rise to the top of the industry and excite clients and potential hires. Just as services like SkyBoss will help businesses better serve clients, AI will do the same.
5. It Will Allow Them To Keep Up With Other Industries
As mentioned, AI is making stunning advances. Google, IBM and Facebook are among the big names pushing forward with research. In recent years, Facebook has made the goal of building the world's best AI lab. The lab is currently studying every aspect of AI, including hardware and software infrastructure, applications, algorithms and theory. IBM has managed to create AI systems that have beaten the two best Jeopardy players and a world champion chess player. Google developed a program that won five games in a row against the best European Go master. Companies like VoiceBase are using AI to improve speech analytics and recognition to better understand customers, optimize sales and create actionable call data.
Computers are beginning to outsmart humans left and right. They are already trusted to evaluate and recommend financial transactions and provide general knowledge answers to inquiries. But here's the key: Yes, they are more efficient than humans and they make fewer errors. But for this very reason, professionals should be celebrating the advancement of AI. These systems aren't being built to replace humans, they are being built to improve humans.