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Artificial Intelligence in the Courts, Legal Academia and Legal Practice

Bennett Moses, Lyria, Artificial Intelligence in the Courts, Legal Academia and Legal Practice (August 7, 2017). Australian Law Journal, 91(7), p. 561-574 (2017), UNSW Law Research Paper No. 20-79, Available at SSRN:

“Advances in technology, in particular in artificial intelligence, will continue to have a significant impact on the discipline of law in academia, the practicing profession and the courts. While technological forecasting is a dangerous game, current trends suggest that over the next ten years there will likely be greater reliance on data analytic tools in assessing students, predicting judicial outcomes and making decisions about criminal defendants both pre- and post-conviction. There is also likely to be greater diffusion of expert systems offering standardised legal advice and legal documents, although it is less likely that there will be significant technological innovation in that field. There are significant differences between an artificial intelligence that mirrors doctrinal logic (expert systems) and an artificial intelligence based on projection from empirical observation (data analytics). In particular, few legal professionals understand the mechanisms through which data analytics produces predictions. The limitations inherent and assumptions embedded in these tools are thus often poorly understood by those using them. This essay will explore the limitations of artificial intelligence technologies by considering the ways in which what they produce (for clients, law students and society) differs from what they replace. Ultimately, if we, as legal professionals, want to harness the benefits and limit the detriments of new artificial intelligence technologies, we need to understand what their limitations are, what assumptions are embedded within them and how they might undermine appropriate decision-making in legal practice, legal academia and, most crucially, the judiciary.”

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