Currently, there is no doubt that artificial intelligence or AI is attracting a lot of attention from all sorts of professional sectors, public entities, private entities, media, as well as individuals who are mostly looking for answers to two questions; namely, what practical applications AI can have in their respective fields/economic sectors, and whether or not their own field, business or raison d’être is endangered by AI.
Not surprisingly, AI may represent a revolution in our society equal to or greater than the internet era; some are even talking about the next industrial revolution.
In principle, artificial intelligence is not seen as an end in itself, but as a means to serve as a catalyst for other sectors. While it is true that it will apply to virtually all sectors of economic activity, its impact could be more decisive in some than in others.
This short article is not intended to delve too deeply into issues of such calibre but rather to highlight the practicality of the AI available to us today in relation to the field of law and to see what its practical applications are today.
We have to be aware that behind the AI showcase, we are currently witnessing the latest, if not the first of many battles between the big technology companies with which we are, to a greater or lesser extent, in contact every day. Recall the battle for dominance of the personal computer market in the 1980s and early 1990s between Apple and Microsoft, or the battles for dominance of internet browsers (Google Chrome-Internet Explorer) or for “free” email (Hotmail-Gmail) in more recent times between Google and Microsoft.
Well, from a practical approach, it seems that the products leading the race would be: the search engine Bing with built-in AI as a chatbox from Microsoft (derived from its synergies with Open AI, creator of the famous ChatGPT) and Google Bard; although it is true that other companies such as Apple and Meta have already announced that they have been investing time and resources to offer their products with built-in AI, to compete in this sector.
It can already be said that AI chatboxes can be used as if they were a “co-pilot”, which receives our orders and can help a lawyer in their day-to-day work, with an assistance role generating content ranging, for example, from a draft of letters of complaint of all kinds, to a draft email accepting a complex assignment, to designing drafts of budgets, or comparing documents, among others. And all of this, of course, in any language there is.
No more searching for content with keywords and segmenting what we need using a traditional search engine – none of that. You simply give a command to your co-driver, such as, “write, compare, summarise, calculate, create, suggest, quote examples, design, etc.”, and wait for his or her response. And then, as a good driver, we will have to review and examine everything our co-pilot instructs us to do before making any decisions.
Whether we like it or not, the legal profession and all judicial activity in general (think of sending and receiving notifications, for example) will be affected by AI. Moreover, everything seems to indicate that highly automatable tasks may be replaced by AI and will be affected to a greater extent than those that are not; we are referring to those that are a tailor-made suit for the customer or the citizen.
Be that as it may, it is indisputable that the irruption of AI is already presenting a whole set of global challenges for any economic sector, public and private entities; from the impact on employment, to ethical and security concerns that would require a separate analysis.
We therefore believe, and dare to recommend, that all professional sectors, including the legal and transport sectors, should be prepared to face these challenges proactively.