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Artificial Lawyers 'r' Us


I was looking at the increasing encroachment of artificial intelligence in industry and noticing that there isn't that much of a takeover of people's jobs in certain professions. Those where there is a need for creative or original thinking appear to be currently at least, a safe haven from robotics, but it might not be safe for long. 

Imagine the following scenario!

You have a problem with your employer. They have summarily dismissed you because of some infraction of your employment contract. However, you believe this was a staged event designed to illicit a response from you that could deliberately be misinterpreted by management and used against you. You're now out of work, no references and no income. You need to appeal, but where can you get a quick and fair hearing?

You go onto the internet and contact the National Tribunal Service (NTS) and are eventually connected to a 'talking head'. An AI Lawyer-construct that appears human and is designed to set you at ease and exude professionalism, confidence and empathy. It is your Lawyer. 

The AI Lawyer-construct has 14.5 million past cases recorded in the last ten years by itself and other tribunal investigations and these have been broken down within the construct to a series of algorithms that generate an immediate set of questions that not only keep the interview concise and focused, but also directs you in a way that provides a clear and accurate witness statement that can later be used as evidence in a tribunal, if required.

The two-way conversation between you and your Lawyer-construct additionally collects body-language, voice and stress-analysis to provide a lie-detector report that will run alongside your statement further correlating the accuracy of your complaint. The questions that follow are based on your verbal responses which are provided initially by yes or no answers with codicils provided where the answer requires further examination. Those codicils will be considered by the Lawyer-construct master program and may result in refinement of questions in future cases.

Once completed your case is documented by the NTS with a copy saved on your own computer/tablet for your own use, and based on your responses allocated a score-based priority. This score will promote or demote your case in the Tribunal's queuing system and you will be allocated a provisional hearing date.

The Lawyer-construct now acting as your defence lawyer approaches the company and instructs them that a legal case has been opened and they are required by law to respond within fourteen days to a similar interview. At this point the company are not shown the evidence that you have provided. Your Lawyer-construct will also not provide any copy of their statement to you until further validation has been carried out by the main program which will deliberate on the evidence in the same way as a human tribunal would.

In the event the AI Tribunal finds that there is clear case of constructive dismissal, there will be a demand made of the employer and they will be required to comply. If they concede the case then reparations will be calculated by the NTS based on a range of predetermined factors and restitution demanded. The case will be closed and both parties' records will be sealed. The seal will remain in place unless either party is flagged in further cases. At that point deeper investigation into either the company or the employee will be made. This system ensures that repeat offenders are duly reported and may lead to criminal prosecution by a human court.

At any point the company can appoint their own Lawyer-construct or human lawyer to appeal the tribunal's findings and lay their own submission to contest the decision. This will be handled by the NTS up to the point where the complexity of the case goes beyond any ability of the expert system to adjudicate, at which time the human-side of the NTS will become involved.

At this juncture the recorded statements of both parties are examined by a human tribunal and the Lawyer-construct's findings will be thoroughly examined to establish if there was any failure in the NTS's automated procedure. The decision made made by them will be final and is the last court of appeal for both parties. If the company fails in their appeal they will not only have to compensate the plaintiff (you), but will also be required to pay a substantial fine to the NTS to cover the whole cost of the investigation and the judge's personal intervention. The Lawyer-construct system would be fast, fair, impartial and immune from corruption.

Now, my own opinion of such a scenario is that sometimes not all lawyers are at their best. Sometimes their best simply isn't good enough. A Lawyer-construct that has been built, tuned and honed on the legal arguments over a twenty year period would be incredibly complex and well-versed in all types of tribunal cases. To such a degree the AI system would know more than the individual lawyer no matter how well he or she was trained or experienced in such cases. At that point the artificial system becomes the official arbiter of the law and the human judicial system only intervenes where no precedents can be found.

Is that a scary prospect do you think? 

Would you prefer a system that is 100% focused on you 24/7/365 and doesn't suffer from Monday-Friday syndrome, a hangover or a pressing personal issue that distracts their professional attention?  I think I might, but it would depend on the sophistication of the AI construct. I'd need to have total confidence in its ability to defend me. Therein might lie the problem.

My thanks to for their humorous reinforcement of my views. 

I found this image after I had written the article.

fun fact: Spending on AI [within the legal profession] is expected to grow rapidly--from $8 billion in 2016 to $47 billion in 2020

Ian McEwan’s Machines Like Me and the thorny issue...
The AI theory behind The Pattern Ship

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Wednesday, 25 November 2020
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