21 Sep 2015

Regulation could dampen effect of AI on law, says paper

A new paper in the UCLA Law Review Discourse attempts to cast doubt on predictions that AI will transform the market for legal services, arguing that the level of regulation will play an equal role in shaping its future.

Frank Pasquale, law professor at the University of Maryland, co-authored “Four Futures of Legal Automation” with Glyn Cashwell, a computer programmer who is also studying law.  The paper argues that it is inadequate to focus only on technological advances in artificial intelligence, as the level of regulation of legal services is equally important.

Possible outcomes

The authors used level of regulation and susceptibility to automation of any given legal task as factors to build a framework, in which they describe four different futures of legal automation. These range from a society with little regulation and little automation to one that is highly regulated and highly automated, and everything in between. Professor Pasquale acknowledged in an interview that the future may be a mixture of these.

Part of a broader whole

The paper concludes: ‘We hope the scenarios we have described have demonstrated that the future of law and computation hinges on broader social trends outside of law, and thus is far more open ended than most commentators now suggest.’ Source: Bloomberg Business of Law