Introduction to AI

Introduction to AI


Artificial intelligence (AI) is a term which is commonly bandied about in legal technology circles. But what exactly does AI mean today - and do lawyers need to be concerned about being replaced by ones and zeroes any time soon?


What is AI in 2020?


Anyone who grew up in the 90s will remember the manifestation of artificial intelligence portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the form of a rather well built android sent from the future (2029 to be precise) to fight baddies or goodies (depending on whether it was the original Terminator or the sequel). Although that future date is creeping up on us, today’s robots can barely manage to climb stairs.

On the other hand, AI is already working in law firms. But it’s not yet doing any of the core work of lawyers. What we consider AI today is essentially a combination of machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) which can help to automate various routine tasks. In particular, it can analyse large volumes of data to identify pertinent information, spot discrepancies or find patterns, all of which would normally take much longer if done manually. Some of the main features of AI include:

  • machine learning – learning certain tasks and improving skills with direction and feedback from humans
  • natural language processing – understanding verbal or written natural language queries and providing meaningful responses

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About the author:
Alex Heshmaty is a legal copywriter and journalist with a particular interest in legal technology. He runs Legal Words, a legal copywriting and marketing agency.