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28 September 2016

Legal CIOs quicker to embrace AI than counterparts in other sectors

Although the legal sector is often criticised for being slow to adopt new technologies, a new study suggests it is more advanced in its use and understanding of AI than other sectors.

By Victoria Basham


According to the study of 200 senior IT decision-makers (with 100 from the legal sector and 100 from other sectors), adoption of AI among IT departments in the legal field is far more widespread than in other industries.  Half of IT staff in the legal sector currently use predictive coding (55 per cent) or machine learning (48 per cent) technologies, compared to only a third of CIOs in non-legal sectors (30 per cent and 38 per cent respectively).

‘IT staff in the legal industry have a forward-thinking and well-reasoned attitude to artificial intelligence and automation technologies,’ says Jamie Tyler, head of digital transformation at telecommunications company CenturyLink. ‘They understand the impact and benefits that this technology can have, as well as its limitations, well ahead of their peers.’


According to the study, carried out by Censuswide on behalf of CenturyLink, over three-quarters (76 per cent) of legal CIOs believe that AI will be capable of operating without supervision within the next ten years, compared to less than two-thirds (60 per cent) of non-legal CIOs. Legal CIOs also have a firm understanding of liability that coincides with the adoption of AI technology – 73 per cent believe that machines will eventually be held liable for their own errors, compared to just 47 per cent of non-legal CIOs.


However, legal IT staff were also more conscious of possible problems caused by AI, with 62 per cent citing concerns over errors in any work performed by artificial intelligence and automation systems. Similarly, 49 per cent were worried the possibility for AI systems to produce irrelevant results, compared to 34 per cent of CIOs in non-legal industries.

‘In-depth understanding’

‘CIOs in the legal industry seem to have a more in-depth understanding of both the capabilities and limitations of predictive coding, machine learning and artificial intelligence systems compared to CIOs generally across all sectors,’ says Mr Tyler. ‘They are well ahead of their peers and are approaching AI in a systematic, pragmatic fashion. This is validated by the fact that only 12 per cent of legal CIOs are worried about AI eventually taking over the planet, compared to 17 per cent of panicky CIOs in other industries.’

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