Sir Geoffrey Vos, Master of the Rolls, has predicted that robots could soon replace humans in deciding court disputes – below.
Will AI replace lawyers?
While AI has the potential to automate some of the tasks that lawyers perform, such as document review and contract analysis, it is unlikely that AI will completely replace lawyers in the near future.
There are certain tasks that require the critical thinking, judgment, and interpersonal skills that only a human lawyer can provide. For example, lawyers often need to interpret the nuances of legal language and make subjective judgments about how to apply the law to a particular case.
Furthermore, the legal profession involves a great deal of human interaction, such as client counseling, negotiations, and courtroom advocacy. These tasks require a level of emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills that are not currently within the capabilities of AI.
Overall, it is more likely that AI will serve as a tool to assist lawyers, rather than replacing them entirely. AI can help lawyers streamline their work, increase efficiency, and provide more accurate and comprehensive legal research. However, the final decision-making and responsibility for legal advice will still be the responsibility of human lawyers.
Should lawyers worry?
While the increasing use of AI in the legal profession may change the nature of some legal tasks, lawyers should not necessarily worry about being replaced by AI.
AI is more likely to serve as a tool to assist lawyers, rather than replace them entirely. Lawyers will still need to use their critical thinking, judgment, and interpersonal skills to provide legal advice and represent their clients.
Furthermore, the legal profession involves complex and nuanced decision-making that requires human reasoning and interpretation. The ethical and moral implications of legal decisions also require human judgment.
Lawyers can adapt to the increasing use of AI by staying informed about AI and its potential applications in the legal profession. They can also develop skills and knowledge in areas where AI is less likely to have an impact, such as client counseling, negotiation, and courtroom advocacy.
Overall, while the use of AI in the legal profession may change the nature of some tasks, it is unlikely to completely replace lawyers. Instead, lawyers can use AI as a tool to enhance their work and increase efficiency.
What could AI do that lawyers can’t do?
AI has the potential to perform certain tasks that may be difficult or impossible for human lawyers to do, such as:
- Processing large amounts of data: AI can quickly analyze vast amounts of legal data and documents, which would be time-consuming and difficult for a human lawyer to do.
- Spotting patterns and trends: AI can identify patterns and trends in legal data that might not be apparent to human lawyers.
- Predicting outcomes: AI can use data analysis and machine learning algorithms to predict the outcome of legal cases with a high degree of accuracy.
- Providing 24/7 availability: AI-powered legal chatbots can provide clients with immediate answers to their legal questions, regardless of the time of day.
- Eliminating human biases: AI can analyze legal data and make decisions without being influenced by human biases or emotions.
- Reducing errors: AI can automate routine tasks and reduce the risk of human error, which can lead to more accurate and consistent legal outcomes.
However, it is important to note that AI cannot replace the judgment, critical thinking, and interpersonal skills that human lawyers bring to the legal profession. AI is a tool that can assist lawyers, but it cannot replace them entirely.
How can AI make better decisions?
AI can make better decisions by analyzing vast amounts of data and identifying patterns and trends that human lawyers may miss. Additionally, AI can use machine learning algorithms to improve its decision-making over time. Here are a few ways that AI can make better decisions:
- Data analysis: AI can analyze large amounts of data and identify patterns that human lawyers may miss. By processing more data than a human lawyer could in a reasonable amount of time, AI can make better-informed decisions.
- Machine learning: AI can use machine learning algorithms to learn from previous decisions and improve its decision-making over time. As AI encounters new data and cases, it can adjust its decision-making based on past experiences, which can lead to more accurate and consistent outcomes.
- Eliminating biases: AI can make decisions without being influenced by human biases or emotions. By removing these factors, AI can provide more objective and impartial decisions.
- Speed and efficiency: AI can make decisions quickly and efficiently, which can be especially useful in situations where time is of the essence. This can lead to more timely and effective decisions.
- Consistency: AI can make decisions in a consistent manner, which can help ensure that similar cases are treated similarly. This can lead to greater predictability and fairness in legal outcomes.
However, it is important to note that AI is only as good as the data it is trained on, and there are limitations to its decision-making capabilities. Human lawyers will still need to use their judgment, critical thinking, and interpersonal skills to make complex legal decisions.
Can AI do critical thinking and understand the emotional aspects of decision making?
While AI has advanced in recent years, it still cannot do critical thinking and understand the emotional aspects of decision-making in the same way that humans can.
Critical thinking involves the ability to evaluate complex information and arguments, assess evidence, identify biases, and draw logical conclusions. While AI can analyze large amounts of data and identify patterns and trends, it cannot replicate the nuanced and context-dependent reasoning that human critical thinking involves.
Similarly, while AI can recognize emotions in language and facial expressions, it does not understand emotions in the same way that humans do. Human emotions are complex and nuanced, and they can be influenced by personal experiences, culture, and context. AI may be able to recognize emotions and respond in predetermined ways, but it does not experience emotions or understand the subjective experience of human decision-making.
Therefore, while AI can assist with certain tasks and provide valuable insights, it cannot replace the judgment, critical thinking, and interpersonal skills that human lawyers bring to the legal profession.
AI may become more capable than human lawyers, says senior judge
Sir Geoffrey Vos, Master of the Rolls, has predicted that robots could soon replace humans in deciding court disputes.
Artificial intelligence (AI) such as ChatGPT-4 and other advanced machine learning is “likely to transform the work that lawyers need to do and possibly even, in the slightly longer term, the business of judging”, Sir Geoffrey Vos, the Master of the Rolls, has said.
Vos, who is the senior civil law judge in England and Wales, predicted that the speed of technological advances made it a “real possibility that AI may become more intelligent and capable than humans” and opened up the possibility of automated decision-making in the courts.
ChatGPT-4 was released by OpenAI, a US start-up backed by Microsoft, last month. The program is designed to simulate human conversation, taking information from the internet to answer questions by predicting the next word in a sentence.
Vos, 67, who is one of the senior judiciary’s most ardent supporters of using technology to increase efficiency in the justice system, said that machines will at first make only “very minor” decisions, such as ruling on procedural issues. Evolution to more substantive issues, said Vos, would depend on the confidence the public and businesses have in decisions made by artificial intelligence.
The judge stressed that there must always be the option of an appeal to a human judge. Some decisions, such as those involving “intensely personal decisions relating to the welfare of children”, people are “unlikely ever to accept being decided by machines”, he suggested.
However, Vos said the technology presented great opportunities for resolving commercial disputes. Digitisation and generative AI, he said, will “change both the kinds of disputes that need to be resolved and the way in which commercial parties will want and require them to be resolved”.
Vos noted the rapid improvement shown by recent iterations of AI in taking the US bar exam
When transactions are recorded on blockchain technology, said the judge, “events and facts will be harder to dispute” and parties will want faster and cheaper resolution than the traditional court process provides. “Businesses will ultimately not want to pay for things that are available free. And that applies as much to legal services and dispute resolution as to anything else,” he said.
In complex commercial disputes, Vos suggested that the power of AI could identify from a mass of facts and transactions the real issues in dispute, making cases shorter and less costly. “If London is to retain its place as a litigation and arbitration destination of choice, it will be imperative to embrace digital innovation and AI,” he said.
He added that there was “a big opportunity for English law and the UK’s jurisdictions to position themselves as digital and AI-friendly environments”, although achieving that position would require parliament to legislate.
He said that the pace of change in the legal profession and wider society was happening “very much more rapidly than many of us might have expected”. As an example, he said that when an earlier version of the chatbot, ChatGPT-3.5, first took a bar exam in the US, it finished in the bottom 10 per cent. However, when ChatGPT-4 sat an exam just recently, it finished in the top 10 per cent.
Vos noted that the use of the new generative AI in law was already causing concern, with the production of false judgments being found in the legal system. “It’s not common, but it happens,” said Vos, telling The Times he was aware of two false judgments that had been generated. However, he stressed they had been spotted quickly.
•Doomsayers have been predicting for at least the past 15 years that technological advances will ultimately make lawyers redundant (Jonathan Ames writes).
It hasn’t happened yet. Since Richard Susskind, one of law’s most vocal futurists, published The End of Lawyers? in 2008, the number of solicitors practising in England and Wales has increased by more than 30 per cent to nearly 160,000.
However, the flurry of general public excitement over ChatGPT and other chatbots has been reflected in the legal profession, and has triggered heightened concerns among many lawyers. Indeed, some of the well-publicised problems around chatbots have a strong legal flavour. So-called hallucinations — when chatbots simply invent a supposed fact — have highlighted defamation risks and potential breaches of privacy and data laws.
Recently, ChatGPT falsely accused Jonathan Turley, a US law professor, of sexually harassing one of his students. Brian Hood, an Australian mayor, has threatened OpenAI, the program’s manufacturer, with defamation after the chatbot falsely claimed that he had been imprisoned for bribery.
Earlier this week, Ravi Naik, a technology specialist lawyer, told The Times “using ChatGPT as the sole source for legal advice right now is fraught with danger” because it produces plausible but not necessarily factually correct text and has been shown to invent sources for its conclusions. According to Naik, that approach would be unusable in any litigation.
However, others remain positive. Susskind, who is the technology adviser to the Lord Chief Justice, wrote in The Times last month: “For some tasks, such as quick drafting, summarising and comparing categories of documents, ChatGPT is already better than junior lawyers.”
ChatGPT on Andrew Eborn:
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Previously from ChatGPT:
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