Algorithms, the set of instructions computers use to carry out a task, have become an integral part of everyday lives, and it is immersing itself in law. In the U.S. judges in some states can use algorithms as part of the sentencing process. Many law enforcement officials in the U.S. are using them to predict when and where crimes are likely to occur. They have been used for years in law firm recruitment. And with advancements in machine learning they are also being used to conduct legal research, predict legal outcomes, and to find out which lawyers win before which judges.
Most algorithms are created with good intentions but questions have surfaced over algorithmic bias at job hunting web sites, credit reporting bureaus, social media sites and even the criminal justice system where sentencing and parole decisions appear to be biased against African Americans.
The practice of law however has been largely shielded by technological developments over the past fifty years, suffering little more than glancing blows.
That may be on the cusp of changing. Fuelled by big data, increased computing power, and more effective algorithms (a routine process for solving a program or performing a task), AI has the potential to change the way that legal work is done, the way that law firms conduct business and the way that lawyers deal with clients.
But it remains that law firms are proving to be a hard sell. A recent survey reveals yet again that the vast majority of law firms are uncomfortable being early adopters.
On top of that, most lawyers view AI as a threat instead of seeing it as an opportunity to help deliver better outcomes for clients.
Days after U.S. President Donald J. Trump issued a controversial executive order that barred refugees and temporarily suspended immigration from several predominantly Muslim countries, Amir Moravej and his team decided to lend a helping hand and launched an artificial intelligence immigration chatbot months ahead of schedule.
The AI-driven chatbot uses machine learning to assist people through the complicated process of putting together an immigration application. Immigration into Canada and Quebec (which has different programs in place) is a laborious three-step process. Applicants must determine if they are eligible, then must provide supporting documents, and finally fill out an application form, which in itself can be tricky.
That’s where the web-based application at Botler.ai can come into play. It automatizes much of the process. After an applicant answers questions about their qualifications and circumstances, Botler assesses if they are eligible for the immigration program.