This article has been written by Karan Upadhyaya.
Homo Sapien as we know is the most intelligent creature on this planet. Technology, however, is progressing at a high rate and there is no denying of the fact that human skills are now being substituted by machine learning. The term Artificial Intelligence was coined by Arthur McCarthy, in 1956. Artificial intelligence (AI) is the ability of a digital computer or computer controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings. The way in which AI affects the legal world is legion. Globalization has led to the advancement of technology in the legal sector. In countries like U.K and U.S.A where technological advancement has reached surreal heights, AI is also being used in courts, “so much so that they are advancing the technology to help judges in decision making”.
Artificial Intelligence is intangible and focuses on performing tasks using intelligence methods like:
- Problem Solving
- Linguistic Intelligence
In India, where there are 59,867 cases pending in the Supreme Court, 44.75 lakh cases pending in various High Courts and at the district and other subordinate level courts/tribunals, a shocking 3.14 crore cases, as of November 2019, the advancement of AI and its use in the justice delivery system is very important, because it does not seem possible for humans alone to hear an approximate of 3.75 crore cases in an efficient and quick manner. The Indian Judicial System uses AI in numerous ways, such as legal research, due diligence, contract generation (smart contracts) etc. In fact, one of India’s top law firms, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas became the first Indian firm to come into an agreement with Kira Systems, to gain access to their machine learning system in order to expedite their legal research and productivity. Sharad Arvind Bobde, the Chief Justice of India, in an event organized by the Supreme Court Bar Association on the Constitution Day in 2019, stated that “We propose to introduce, if possible, a system of artificial intelligence. There are many things which we need to look at before we introduce ourselves. We do not want to give the impression that this is ever going to substitute the judges.”
Artificial Intelligence, however, has the power to completely revolutionize the daily lives of everyone, for better or for worse, it is our duty to follow a proper framework to ensure positive impact of Artificial Intelligence.
Benefits of AI to the legal profession: an analysis
Artificial Intelligence and law mainly deal with the application of algorithms to make law more logical, convenient and probable. We have seen that AI is being incorporated in most of the organizations across the world, even in the small and medium industries. So, naturally, the Indian legal sector has also become privy to AI and its uses. In this particular section, the author will analyze the benefits of AI to the legal profession in India and try to justify its importance in India’s legal sector. There are many benefits of having AI assisting the legal professionals, which includes, but is not limited to:
- TIME CONSERVING: With 3.75 crore cases already pending, it is becoming very tough to resolve cases in the Indian Legal System. The journey from filing a case to its judgment is a very long and draining one. With the help of AI, daunting tasks like legal research, discovery, due diligence, contract drafting, contract analysis, have become easy. Discovery talks about the time when the prosecution has to present the defense with all the information and evidence that they have about the case. This is a very tough task to do as in some cases there is so much paperwork and evidences that it would be a waste of resources as well as a money draining job as well as a time taking job to go over all the paperwork, however, with the use of AI, this task can now be performed by digitizing all the files to be handed over. Here, AI helps to go through gigabytes and gigabytes of data by just typing in a few keywords. Similarly, due diligence process in M&A used to be quite a lengthy process, but with AI, it is very easy to do due diligence, if one knows what they are looking for by just typing in a few keywords. The filing of cases is being made possible through online portals as well. This makes it so much easier to go through e-filing and now one does not have to do a lot of work manually, they can just file a case with a few keystrokes.
- BEING ABLE TO FOCUS MORE ON COMPLEX WORK: With AI playing its role in performing the meager tasks, the lawyers can focus more on the complexities of a case, while the software takes care of the repetitive tasks.
- COST EFFECTIVE: Tasks like documentation, analysis etc., used to take a lot of manpower, hence resulting in more salary being paid and therefore more financial resources being used up. However, with the use of AI, these repetitive and easy tasks have become more efficient and quick. Therefore, it leads to cost reduction.
- BETTER SKILL DEVELOPMENT: Indian lawyers have taken a lot of time to learn the various nuances of law. However, this used to be a very time taking and complex process which used to be achieved through a lot of hard work. However, AI, being smart, has introduced smart-work and now even young lawyers can easily understand the nuances of law in a less amount of time.
- ALGORITHM BASED PREDICTIONS: When a lawyer is approached by a client, it always so happens that the lawyer receives a case or a certain area of the case that is very common. AI can then be used by the lawyer to put the AI’s algorithm to work and the algorithm, then on the bases of its smart analysis features, predicts if the lawyer can win the case, which helps reassure the client as well.
- CONTRACT ANALYSIS & DRAFTING: In the past, contract analysis and drafting was a long process which required a lot of hours and due diligence. However, through advanced AI algorithms, it has become easier to analyze the requirements of a contract and then predict a draft of the contract.
- ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN DECISION MAKING: Artificial Intelligence incorporates various intellectual undertakings in order to fulfill one of its uses, that is decision making. India, however, in the author’s opinion cannot be seen adopting this feature of the AI in the near future, as India, is still a developing nation and taking this measure would lead to an employment crisis and India cannot rely on the prowess of Artificial Intelligence itself in deciding the legion of aspects of a particular case, especially because the judgment would affect the lives of the people involved in the case and any kind of “glitch in the system” would be highly unjust.
- ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN LEGAL RESEARCH: Lawyers always use a plethora of old judgments as precedents while arguing their case in indistinguishable conditions. This requires a lot of legal research and man hours, a judge, lawyer, law students, spend a lot of energy and time in legal research, however with the help of the innovative and smart algorithm of AI softwares, it has become very easy to accomplish this daunting and draining task. There are a few databases available which helps the lawyers find relevant case laws and rules in order to proceed with their cases.
- ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN DOCUMENT REVIEW: As pointed out before, one of India’s top law firms, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas which has shown its interest in using AI of Kira Systems, in order to facilitate due diligence and Document review for effectiveness and precision which will be of advantage to their clients
New startups in light of the increasing need for AI
Considering the need of advancement in technology in the legal service market of India, new startups have been established which are focusing on building NLP based applications and legal research databases which will help the lawyers to conduct research and analysis in an easy manner.
Some of these organizations have been introduced below:
- SPOTDRAFT: “Spotdraft can review contracts in minutes”. It is an end to end legal technology solution that enables organizations of all sizes to draft, review and manage contracts. It is a startup based in Gurugram, which has been established by Shashank Bijapur, and Madhav Bhagat, “We were thrilled with the speed and accuracy of Spot Drafts delivery. SpotDraft was able to quickly and easily review contracts as per our requirements, cutting what was a two-week contract cycle to a few hours”, was the take of the CEO of NDTV Goodtimes on this startup.
- CASEMINE: Established by Anuradaha Yadav, is a startup which uses AI to find out links between various case laws, provide a summary on those case laws and help make legal research more extensive in less time.
- PRACTICE LEAGUE: This platform empowers many business units with accurate reporting, faster delivery of legal services, and data-driven insights to become the next business enablers of their organization.
AI: a replacement of lawyers
With AI gaining more and more importance in the legal sector of India, a burning question arises, is AI slowly replacing lawyers? The answer is no. AI, even though a good alternative, does not have certain factors like “instincts”, “gut feel” and “experience” that humans possess. AI is data driven and acts only on the basis of the given data and the merits of the facts. It cannot manipulate such data, it cannot manipulate such facts, and it can just provide a straightforward solution. At the end of the day, it is up to the lawyer to make the final decision. All AI can do, is help the lawyers, judges, magistrates or law students, is to achieve a data driven result in a faster and cheaper manner. Also, it takes real humans to actually argue in the court and it is not a task that automated software can perform. Neither is the task of judgment rendering. So, it can be safely said that AI is not replacing lawyers or rendering them out of jobs.
Loopholes/cons of artificial intelligence
There are many loopholes in the concept of Artificial Intelligence; some of these have been listed below:
- LIABILITY: What happens if there is a certain act or omission done by automated software? Will a robot be held liable for something that causes harm to a third party? The more autonomous softwares becomes, the tougher it will be for humans to handle those softwares and the results that they produce. Let’s take a hypothetical scenario, where AI systems are being used for rendering judicial decisions and a case has arisen, wherein, the defendant claims that he has been framed. Let us also suppose that his claims are indeed true but the evidence is against him. Now, as automated software is data driven, it will obviously find the person guilty and sentence him unjustly to a certain punishment, without proper investigation. So, is this just? Will an AI driven software/robot be held liable for this? More to this, there are a lot of shortcomings in the legal framework of contractual liability. However, to this the author suggests that the legal framework shall consists of laws which make it possible for the owner/creator/inventor of the software to be liable for certain act or omission, if he could have foreseen or anticipated such a situation to take place due to a loophole in the AI of the software.
- LEGAL IDENTITY: Another issue that arises when we talk about AI, is that, is it a person? Does it have its own rights and duties? No legal framework in India has properly shed right on this matter. To avoid such issues, the author suggests that the more complex AI driven softwares/robots be given the identity of a legal person with its own sets of rights and liabilities. However, such an advance system of AI, is not foreseen at the moment to arise in India, as it is still advancing in the technology sector.
- DOES AI PROTECT DATA PRIVACY? : As AI softwares are absolutely data driven, the inflow of data must be accurate and detailed in order to get more precise results. However, everything digital is subject to gross data privacy issues. Even the online video conferencing applications being used during this serious time of a pandemic in order to be able to continue the rendering of justice is subject to infringement of data privacy.
- COMPETITION LAW: As discussed above, AI needs data to learn. With regards to Competition Laws, the problem could arise from the fact that AI uses all sorts of data to learn and react, especially through the accessibility of real-time online data on competitors’ algorithms. This would be an opportunity for robots to detect process and act on this information, and place one company in the same or better position than its competitor, improve its pricing models or, offer better services and conditions for deals, etc. This could call for an alarm, since many of those reactions can be treated as concentrated practices, anti-competitive agreements, or similar.
The author is of the opinion that Artificial Intelligence and its uses are wrongly feared by the lawyers as a threat to their existence and jobs. The author would like to attract the reader’s attention towards other industries like e-commerce, which are faring very well and yet not causing any harm to the human employees by using AI. It is absolutely possible to find a solution all the loopholes of AI. In the words of James Baldwin “Not everything that has been faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it’s faced”. So, if we do not even make an attempt to take the risk of incorporating AI in the legal sector, then it is next to impossible to understand its proper capability and acquire accurate results which AI can render. Based on the above discussion, the author really hopes for a proper legal framework to be developed regarding Artificial Intelligence and is sure that AI will become a huge part in the Indian Judicial System.
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