Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a hot topic for years, but with the explosion in popularity of generative AI solutions like ChatGPT, everyone is talking about it. However, there are a lot of misconceptions about AI in terms of what it is, how it works, and the benefits and risks of using it.
As we saw with the Avianca case earlier this year where an attorney filed a brief with several bogus case citations generated by ChatGPT, the output from AI algorithms isn’t always reliable. There are also risks of bias associated with an AI algorithm, privacy considerations, and transparency concerns that the AI algorithm is a “black box” that we don’t understand.
Still, AI can provide many benefits and support many use cases, including legal use cases, and responsible use of AI can enable legal professionals to get their work done more efficiently and cost effectively. To better understand how to maximize the benefits of AI while minimizing the risks associated with it, we are starting a new series on the “nuts and bolts” of AI for legal professionals to help demystify some of the misconceptions about it, and position you to confidently evaluate using AI solutions in your legal practice.
How AI is Disrupting the Business World
AI has had a transformative impact across a wide range of industries, upending traditional methods of operation, reducing costs, and creating new possibilities. Here are some examples:
- Healthcare: AI algorithms have been used to streamline various healthcare functions, from analyzing medical images, like X-rays and MRIs to predicting how molecules will behave to speed up development of new drugs.
- Manufacturing: AI algorithms control robots that carry out a range of automation tasks from assembly to painting, detect imperfections that humans might miss and optimize the supply chain.
- Agriculture: AI algorithms analyze video and sensor data to monitor the health and well-being of livestock and AI guided robots are being developed to pick fruits and vegetables.
- Finance: AI analyzes patterns in transactions to detect potential fraud and increase the accuracy of risk assessment of loans and investments.
- Retail: AI algorithms analyze customer behavior and personalize recommendations, optimize inventory management, and handle customer service inquiries via chatbots.
- Transportation: AI algorithms analyze real-time traffic data to optimize traffic flow and reduce congestion and can even predict when parts in vehicles and infrastructure are likely to fail, so they can be replaced before causing issues.
As you can see, AI algorithms are providing many benefits across the business world and across society overall today.
How AI is Disrupting the Legal Industry
Think we forgot about legal? Of course not! AI is also already providing several benefits to legal professionals. Here are several of them:
- Legal Research: AI-powered search tools can quickly scan through vast databases of case law, statutes, and academic articles to provide relevant information to streamline traditional legal research, which can be time-consuming.
- Legal Analytics: AI can analyze past case outcomes and judicial behaviors to predict the likely outcome of new cases, helping lawyers to strategize more effectively. By analyzing large datasets of legal information, AI can also provide insights into trends, such as common litigation outcomes, thereby helping law firms make data-driven business decisions. And it can analyze court records, public transactions, and other data to provide insights into market conditions, competitive landscapes, and potential business opportunities for law firms.
- Client Interaction: AI-powered chatbots can handle basic legal queries, appointment scheduling, and even generate simple legal documents, to enhance the client experience. AI can also help tailor legal services to individual clients by analyzing their specific needs and circumstances to improve client satisfaction and retention.
- Intellectual Property (IP): AI tools can rapidly analyze existing patents, discovering opportunities where new inventions might be patentable. AI algorithms can also continuously monitor for potential IP infringements across various platforms, alerting lawyers and IP owners more quickly than manual monitoring.
- Contract Automation and Management: AI can rapidly scan and organize contracts, flagging relevant sections. AI tools can also generate drafts of contracts based on templates and specific user input, saving time and reducing human error. It can identify problematic clauses in contracts or potential compliance issues in due diligence, alerting lawyers to areas that require attention. Finally, AI can monitor contracts throughout their lifecycle, issuing alerts for renewals, expirations, or conditions that need to be met.
- eDiscovery: Through technology assisted review (TAR), AI can streamline the review process by classifying documents based on machine learning. AI can also identify potentially sensitive or personal data, including personally identifiable information (PII) so that it can be effectively protected. AI can also analyze sentiment within data to support investigations of harassment or corporate malfeasance. And generative AI capabilities are starting to be leveraged to streamline the process of identifying important documents even more, as well as summarizing documents for quicker review.
AI provides a lot of benefits to legal professionals today, and there are new use cases being identified all the time to which it can be applied.
That’s the good news. However, the challenges of AI are many, including hallucinations, potential bias, lack of transparency, privacy and cybersecurity concerns, and more. With great power comes great responsibility.
Perhaps the biggest challenge associated with AI is understanding the “nuts and bolts” of AI – what it is, how it works, and the risks and benefits associated with it. That’s what this new blog series is all about! Next time, we’ll define several important AI terms to enable you to better understand AI and its different uses and permutations.
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