More than a decade ago, some people predicted that lawyers would become an endangered species and their livelihood would be threatened by artificial intelligence technology. However, these pessimists were too hasty. Although intelligent software has replaced some of the grunt work of legal work, such as searching, reviewing, and mining useful information from a large number of legal documents, the employment rate in the legal industry has grown faster than the entire US labor market.
Now, a new type of artificial intelligence threat is looming, and lawyers may feel a sense of déjà vu. Some warn that software like ChatGPT, because of its human-like language fluency, may replace most legal work. Although the new AI has some flaws, especially its tendency to fabricate things, including false legal citations, supporters of the "unemployment theory" insist that these problems are minor issues in the growth of emerging technology and can be solved by fixing them. Will pessimists ultimately prevail this time?
Due to the latest advances in artificial intelligence, law is considered one of the highest-income industries most threatened by AI, as lawyers are basically wordsmiths. New technology can instantly recognize and analyze text and generate text, which seems to be able to perform the basic tasks of a lawyer. "It's really powerful," said Robert Plotkin, an intellectual property lawyer in Cambridge, Massachusetts. "Most of my work and profession is about writing text.”
However, according to historical experience, the impact of new technology is more likely to be a gradually rising trend rather than a sudden flood. The new generation of AI technology will change legal practice, some positions will be eliminated, but it is also expected to improve the productivity of lawyers and legal assistants and create new positions. This is the same as what happened after the introduction of other technologies that changed the way people work, such as personal computers and the internet.
A new study by researchers at Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, and New York University shows that although artificial intelligence may create some employment pressure on the legal industry in the next 20 years, it may also create more job opportunities. For example, as artificial intelligence is increasingly used in the legal industry, there may be an increasing demand for lawyers and legal assistants who master AI technology, creating new positions.
In addition, artificial intelligence can bring a range of opportunities to the legal industry. For example, by using natural language processing and machine learning technology, AI can help lawyers process large volumes of legal documents and data more quickly and provide more accurate legal analysis and predictions. AI can also improve the efficiency and quality of legal services, providing better customer experiences and increasing customer satisfaction.
Furthermore, artificial intelligence can also be applied in the legal industry in areas such as smart contracts, online dispute resolution, legal advice, and online legal services, expanding the scope and methods of legal services and providing more convenient and efficient legal services.
Although artificial intelligence poses some challenges and potential threats in the legal industry, the future development of the legal industry in reality will be a complex process, with both opportunities and challenges. The key is for legal professionals to constantly update their skills, adapt to technological changes, and focus on the value of their work to ensure they remain relevant in the industry.