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23 April 2015

Lawyers warned that legal automation could dull their brains

Lawyers need to be careful not to lose some of their 'deep human talent' in the coming years as software systems take over many of their traditional tasks - a process which has dulled human expertise in other sectors, according to a leading author.

By Neasa MacErlean

Nicholas Carr, author of 'The Glass Cage: Where Automation is Taking Us', gave the keynote speech at the ABA Techshow this month. He said: 'For any profession going through automation, it’s very easy to fall in love with the productivity, speed and efficiency of computers to the point that you do begin to lose subtle human expertise. Striking the right balance between the computer and the human is going to be the big challenge ahead of the legal profession. Where do we stop automation in order to retain deep human talent?'

Catching up with humans

He added: 'There’s always going to be a gap between what a computer can do and what an experienced legal mind is capable of. But I think we’ll find out in the years ahead that the gap is closing.' He also said that one of the disadvantages of developing more sophisticated technology means that humans often become addicted to it. One study has found that smartphone-owners check their phones an average of 150 times a day. Source: ABA

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