Our 2017 review continues with AI, social media, machine learning, algorithms and robots taking jobs.
Internet Newsletter for Lawyers
Edited by Nick Holmes and Delia Venables
Articles filed under Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a very broad term, covering everything from relatively simple document automation techniques right through to Stanley Kubrick’s HAL
For purposes of this article, we will consider AI to mean the current application of “intelligent” technologies to provide a solution to a problem, as opposed to a free thinking machine. In this sense, AI consists of concepts such as machine learning and natural language processing (NLP); generally computer programs which can either be trained to perform routine tasks or which interact with humans in a more natural way. AI tools may help to:
- automate routine tasks;
- manage and analyse vast quantities of data (Big Data);
- spot discrepancies in data to aid compliance;
- interpret natural language queries and sift through data to provide relevant answers (eg chatbots);
- predict future outcomes based on patterns from past data.
Recently I encountered a tweet about a “robot lawyer” called LISA and took the bait: “Can someone please explain to me how this differs from document assembly we’ve had for decades? Intelligent? Robot? Lawyer?”
Robot Lawyer LISA is a document assembly tool with a single form (an NDA). For what it is – consumer-facing document assembly – the concept and content are fine relative to what else is available. The claims to be something more – an AI robot lawyer – are absurd. The hyperbole, however, is effective.
This article first appeared in Legal Web Watch April 2017. Legal Web Watch is a free email service which complements the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers. To receive Legal Web Watch regularly sign up here.
I don't know about you, but I have had enough of "robot lawyers". It's not that I have anything against robots, it's that the term "robot lawyers" I feel demeans lawyers; not only that, it's unfair to robots. It's a term being used purely for media purposes; nobody seriously thinks in terms of "robot lawyers".
Does your law firm find call handling a challenge? Do you sometimes find yourself losing out on leads because your fee earners do not have enough time to follow up on enquiries? Many solicitors struggle to find the time to respond effectively to new enquiries while still managing their workloads, especially when many of these enquiries involve people looking for free advice or asking the same questions day in and day out.
In addition, clients and prospective clients expect to be able to contact their solicitor through a variety of methods ranging from phone and email, but also via social media, live chat on websites and even SMS. So not only do law firms need constantly to work to ensure that their call handling and sales processes run smoothly, they also need to field queries on an ever-growing range of platforms from both current clients and potential new business in order to capture all opportunities.
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