Artificial Intelligence: A Threat to the Legal Profession

 Oren Etzioni said " Artificial intelligence is neither good nor evil , it is a tool , it is technology for us to use" . Artificial intelligence ( AI) , is the ability of a digital computer or computer controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings. It is designing machines that has ability to think, it is the intelligence of machines . These machines can reason , think and research like humans . In legal profession these machines research informations for lawyersand even get to suggest the likely outcome of a case.

      Artificial intelligence has a number of pros some of which are ; error reduction, difficult exploration, daily application , digital assistance , repetitive jobs , no medical application as well as no breaks . As there is however nothing with pros without cons  the following are the likely cons of artificial intelligence  ; High cost , no replicating humans i.e they don't have morals as well as ethical values , no improvement with experience, no original creativity , unemployment.

        Artificial intelligence has come to stay in not only other aspect of life like sciences and statistics it has also come to stay in the legal profession , Today , Artificial intelligence ( AI) is beginning to transform the legal profession in many ways , but in most cases , it augment what human do and free then up to take on higher level task such as client advisory, negotiation and appearing in courts . However if Artificial intelligence is already reducing, as well as does all the work needed by the lawyer ; The point of questioning is;when won't these machines be capable enough to appear in court?

        Today in the legal profession , artificial intelligence does the following duties ; Review documents and legal research , helpperform due diligence , predict legal outcome , automating divorce and all others .

         However in the land mark case of Lola v. Skadden , the court held that " task that could otherwise be performed entirely by a machine cannot be said to engage in the practice of law " Meaning that once a task can be performed by machines it can't be said to be " the practice of law" . However the decision in the case may soon speak global tread . The unapologetic news is that : some firms are already keeping up with machines.

           The fear remains the future of law practice , should we be scared? Will artificial intelligence take up the lawyer job? 

On a recent episode of the daily show , a young lawyer played comedian Ronny Chieng , Half jokingly threatens in a skit to sue robot that stole his job , in the skit the Chieng case against legal robot goes to trial ; Chieng opening statement refects the struggle the lawyer as well as attorney may soon meet : 

"Your honour , member of the jury , this is about the essence of humanity itself , because unlike that thing ( pointing to the legal robot ) I went to law school - taught by humans , I spent countless , sleepless night , reading, writing , pondering things ... All this artificial intelligence can't do ......"  

The Crux of it all is artificial intelligence is here to stay and it is a threat to the future of the legal profession,if judicious care is not taken by lawyers. Lawyers need to learn how to make use of these machines as It is fast rising in Western countries, courts should also not see the need to disregard or ignore the place of humanintelligence in deciding cases.

Conclusively, I would suggest that lawyers should stop seeing artificial intelligence as a threat rather they should start to adapt , adapting in this way does not means competing as competing with machines would be futile , rather we should embrace the possibilities , we should adjust and reposition ourself, we should learn how to leverage artificial intelligence and see how we can turn a potential foe into a friend .  

Oyewusi Esther

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