artificial intelligence

Technology has become ever more pervasive, embedding itself in both our personal and professional lives.

Almost every new product now has a smart element to it, and while there can be no doubt that these latest developments are revolutionary, these gains in convenience and efficiency raise concerns around ethics, particularly as AI becomes integrated into our society.

Diminished responsibility?

This is a very real consideration for the professional landscape. Businesses have a responsibility to employees and customers alike and must be transparent about the procedures and protocols that are in place.

Take the legal sector as an example. The influx of innovation has reinvented the wheel for many law firms, with next level artificial intelligence (AI) driving productivity and profitability with the speed and simplicity that it provides. Platforms like Luminance enable lawyers to get through swathes of data at a record pace, freeing lawyers from the time intensive tasks and allowing them to focus on the more strategic thinking. It also gives lawyers the ability to review all documents in a transaction, not a subset, flagging all anomalies in an instant and reducing potential risk further down the line.

However, previous technologies, in the form of contract review software, have often created an awkward scenario for lawyers. These clunky, rules-based systems have required lawyers to invest a lot of valuable time ‘training’ a machine before they even see meaningful results, and are limited to answering pre-set queries and questions. By removing the lawyer from the contract and context of the review, these technologies require a leap of faith before they can be relied on. Taking all of this into account, it is hardly surprising that there have been fears of diminished responsibility on the part of the lawyer.

Next generation technology 

Today, the most cutting edge technologies that employ true machine learning and AI, such as Luminance, are designed to be used to complement the human skillset, as opposed to replacing it. Gone are the days of implicit bias being built into search criteria; the technology is able to identify patterns and anomalies in documents in a matter of minutes, but, critically, it remains the lawyer’s responsibility to draw those all-important conclusions. This type of technology can understand contracts in relation to one another, rather than a set of clauses extracted out of context. It allows lawyers to deliver faster and more informed results to their clients, but crucially, the lawyer is still the one driving the review.

If the right technology is deployed within an organisation, ethics should not need to be an impediment to its deployment. Humans have a crucial role to play in the decision-making process. This will never, and indeed should never, change, no matter how far technology evolves.

About the author

Emily Foges is CEO of Luminance, now used by over 200 law firms and organizations across 47 countries and six continents. She has more than 20 years’ experience of growing and scaling technology-led businesses. Prior to joining Luminance, she worked in M&A as a consultant and in-house, building teams to drive acquisition strategy and deliver integration. In 2018, Foges was named Woman of the Year at the Women in IT Excellence Awards.