Artificial intelligence (AI) is a new and rapidly developing technology. Can AI replace human decision making, based on the analysis of given information? Some pundits see this as a possible future, others are more skeptical.

In short, AI is the process of machine learning. This is done by plugging in data rich information and teaching the machine how to sort through it and render an answer to a question.

The fast growth in the AI field has prompted governments to take action to regulate it. State governments in Washington, Nevada, Maine and Illinois, are working on writing bills relating to and governing data privacy. Earlier this year, Illinois introduced the Artificial Intelligence Video Interview Act. New York City and New York State have also introduced similar bills.

The larger question to consider when dealing with AI, is who is choosing the information and data that is provided to the machine. That information is only as good as the person inputting it. Bias is possible.

The JPMorgan Chase’s Optimization and the Path to Innovation panel, assembled in Philadelphia recently, to discuss using AI to supplement the decision making process by the legal field. They concluded that AI technology should be used to supplement information as companies and law firms are at a greater risk of antagonizing regulators for relying too heavily on machine learning.

Using AI has become more and more prevalent. Some companies have been utilizing AI for scoring job candidates. However, the concern here is that such programs are often biased. NewSpring Capital's co-founder and general partner, Marc Lederman, points out that, “It is unintentional bias in many cases because people built these programs based on their view of the world."

Law firms and attorneys using AI should be cautious of this possible problem.   Particularly if the use of such a program is to make decisions in place of the lawyer.

Machines are only as good as the people that program them. If a law firm or an attorney relied solely on AI to determine a case strategy, without also using their knowledge and experience, the fallout could be catastrophic.

That said, using AI to assist in back-grounding decisions and helping an attorney become informed of others aspects of a case makes sense. That leaves the final decision of how to utilize the information up to the attorney.

For now, using AI to only help in the decision making process regarding files an attorney is working on is the best way to stay on the right side of a diverse collection of state laws in place pertaining to the use of AI and data. Newer data privacy laws from various states are impacting how AI is used in the legal industry. Says Tess Blair, a partner at Philadelphia's Morgan, Lewis & Bockius law firm: “The biggest challenge is staying on top of what is happening in the U.S.”

Blair added that companies and their counsel should be looking at the life cycle of data they collect in three ways: data acquisition, security and sharing.

About Author

Kerrie Spencer is a staff contributor to Bigger Law Firm Magazine.

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