AI Lawyers Vs Humans: 7 Skills That Can’t Be Replaced by Artificial Intelligence

Across a wide variety of sectors, the growth of the AI industry and the intricacy and complexity of tasks that are now being assigned to “robots” and automated systems are beginning to cause concern.

Many employees are beginning to wonder how long it will be until AI is capable of ousting them from their jobs. Here Shahid Miah, Director of DPP Business & Tax, delves into the top 7 skills that Ai simply won’t be able to replace.

We’ve already seen how computerised scanning systems have replaced many workers in shops, and with new advances being made within surprisingly short spaces of time, the potential of this resource seems to be significant.

Within the field of law, too, computers have now started to take on basic tasks. Since last year, COIN (Contract Intelligence) software has been used at JPMorgan to undertake the interpretation of loan agreements and other process-based duties.

However, as of the present, the roles assigned to computers and AI technology remain within the realms of the mundane or repetitive. Processes involving algorithms, direct cause and effect or predictability are far more likely to be assigned to purpose-built software than the less set-in-stone elements of the legal process – and this is why it’s extremely unlikely that lawyers will ever be replaced by robots.

There are a number of particular skills that are required in order for a legal expert to perform well in their role which AI simply cannot currently emulate.

1. Strategic and Creative Thinking

The ability to “think outside the box” is very human. There are thousands upon thousands of slightly different possible outcomes that may result from every distinguishable action. The human mind – with its ability to judge from experience which is most likely, which is least, and what would need to happen for each to come about – is programmed for these purposes in a far more sophisticated way than AI can currently achieve.

2. Conflict Resolution and Negotiation

With our understanding of the complexities of human-related processes and our ability to improvise and judge, we are far better equipped to deal with conflict than robots are ever likely to be – and conflict is a lawyer’s bread and butter.

We can read into statements in order to extrapolate the true intentions and priorities of each party on either side of an argument. We can then make adjustments and offers to the opposing party in order to satisfy those intentions and priorities. We can judge when is the right time to push and when to concede – a robot is not capable of these complex mental gymnastics.

3. Emotional Intelligence and Empathy

AI may be able to recognise faces in images, but it can rarely successfully read the feelings those faces show. Humans – to lesser or greater degrees – are capable of the accurate analysis of emotional subtext, the application of intuition and the use of delicately worded or allusive language.

Through these methods, we are able to properly judge how a person feels. This way, we can judge whether proceedings are going well for that individual or not, and we may also be able to determine what we may need to change in order to shift onto the right track. We can also often tell if someone is lying or being manipulated – important skills in the field of law.

4. The Interpretation of Grey Areas

Robots and computers function well when presented with quantifiable data. However, once a situation enters a “grey area” – whether this term refers to morals, processes or definitions – robots are more likely to falter. As lawyers, we excel at using our judgement when there is no “right” or “wrong” answer, while computers generally require the existence of a definite solution to a problem in order to function correctly.

5. Critical Thinking

Humans are capable of responding to more indicators of “quality” than computers are. While an AI system may be able to analyse a document according to the “true” or “false” statements made within the text, we can judge whether or not it is well-written and analyse the implication of the use of certain words and the overall meaning of the content.

6. Problem Solving

AI cannot yet be programmed to solve problems in the same way that a human mind can. We are capable of working from experience, analysing and responding to failures or mistakes of our own accord, navigating complications and obstacles and understanding the complex reasons why a problem has arisen in the first place.

7. Planning

Because we are able to predict outcomes, make informed assumptions and lay the groundwork for complicated processes, humans are great planners. We know that schedules change and we can create backup plans for that eventuality. We understand the strengths, weaknesses and tendencies of every individual and process involved in our plan, and we can prioritise tasks in order to make every step effective. AI is not yet capable of navigating these nuanced elements.

Developments in AI are actually more likely to create jobs in the legal sector than to displace lawyers. With the development of new technologies, the processing of new patents, the addition of new workplace regulations and the rise of new areas of cyber-crime are inevitable. Because of this, cyber-law is an ever-growing field.

The combination of the above skills – of which only human lawyers are currently capable – and the ongoing changes to the legal environment mean that it is extremely unlikely that legal specialists will ever be totally replaced by Artificial Intelligence.

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