A change is coming through Artificial Intelligence (AI) which is fast redefining and transforming the nature of almost everything around us. Also, an exciting wave of future Internet of Things (IoT) applications will emerge which will bring to life through intuitive human to machine interactivity. Human 4.0 will allow humans to interact in real time over great distances – both with each other and with machines – and have similar sensory experiences to those that they experience locally. This will totally transform every facet of human endeavor not even the legal profession can withstand it. This paper aims to critically appraise the role of Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things in the future practice of law.
Over the years, technology has revolutionized our world and daily lives by creating amazing tools and resources, putting useful information at our fingertips. A careful look at the speed of development of technology in our ecosystem and its possible impact on the future suggests how emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) will influence tomorrow. We believe and the trend suggests that a time will come when these technologies will become prevalent, penetrating all spheres of our society.
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With the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT), will law firms as we have known them to be still be in existence in four to five generations to come? These and many more questions are the fear that comes with AI and IoT. In this paper work, efforts will be expended by the writer in appraising the future practice of law in light of the phenomenal changes that Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things is already bringing to the world of legal services.
1.2. CONCEPT OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) AND INTERNET OF THING (IOT)
Artificial intelligence (AI) is an area of computer science that emphasizes the creation of intelligent machines that work and react like humans.[i] It is a branch of computer science concerned with the simulation of the human intelligence in machines that are programmed to think like humans and mimic their actions. The term may be associated to any machines that is capable of replicating the functions of human mind such as problem solving and learning.
The ideal characteristic of artificial intelligence is its ability to rationalize and take actions that have the best chance of achieving a specific goal. A subset of artificial intelligence is machine learning, which refers to the concept that computer programs can automatically learn from and adapt to new data without being assisted by humans. Deep learning is a subset of machine learning where artificial neural networks, algorithms inspired by the human brain, learn from large amounts of data. Similar to how we learn from experience, the deep learning algorithm would perform a task repeatedly, each time tweaking it a little to improve the outcome. In 1997 The Deep Blue a chess-playing computer developed by IBM became the first computer to win both a chess game and a chess match after defeating Kasparov a reigning world champion under regular time controls.[ii]
On the other hand, Internet of Things is said to be the interconnection of devices to the internet. The relationship will be people – people, people – things. Internet of Things makes ‘dumb’ devices ‘smarter’ by giving them the ability to send data over the internet, allowing the device to communicate with people and other Internet of Things enabled things. The concept behind IoT is “the pervasive presence around us of a variety of things or objects – such as Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) tags, sensors, actuators, mobile phones, etc. – which through unique addressing schemes are able to interact with each other and cooperate with their neighbors”[iii] The idea of a ‘smart home’ is a good example of Internet of Things in action. Internet- enabled thermostats, toasters, virtual assistant, security alarms, close- circuit televisions, etc. create a connected hub where data is shared between physical devices and users can remotely control in that hub.
1.3. LEGAL ISSUES IN ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE(AI) AND INTERNET OF THINGS(IoT)
At the core of AI as a tool based on learning and adapting to new data based on an algorithm, you can’t predict everything that is going to happen giving it an inherent uncertainty (or confidence level).[iv]he legal system is based on providing certainty and guidance for individuals and companies as to prospect on how to behave in society, so the changeable nature and potential impact of AI and IoT is unsurprisingly what scares people the most. In response to changeability, numerous legal issues will need to be solved to evaluate and control the risks related to an AI and IoT solution. It is to this extent that the crucial issues to be considered for an AI and IoT environment are discussed as follows:
1.3.1. DATA PRIVACY AND PROTECTION
Over the years, there have been series of attempts to distinguish data privacy from data protection as both are often used interchangeably; but there lies a key difference between them. Simply put, data privacy is a term used to determine how data is collected and who has access to such data. While the latter data protection in simpler words can be seen as the various strategies and processes put in place to protect and secure the privacy, availability and integrity of the data collected. With access to countless number of data points, how are they protected? Can information be protected? Or is it hopeless? If your algorithm is based on confidential or sensitive information, how do you make sure that this information is useful for the product, and also protects the owners of said information? Does AI mean that privacy will be a thing of the past?[v] With innumerable IoT devices talking to each other via the internet, the potential for a data security breach is high and as more and more IoT devices are introduced in the market, this issue would only complicate further.[vi]
1.3.2. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS
Another key legal issue when it comes to incorporating Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) in Law is Intellectual Property Rights. Intellectual property rights are the rights given to persons over the creations of their minds. They usually give the creator an exclusive right over the use of his/her creation for a certain period of time.[vii] Are the rights of people’s property such as idea or invention of their minds protected in an AI and IoT solution? How are they protected?
1.3.3. CYBER SECURITY
This is another major legal issues that must be put into consideration in an AI and IoT environment. Computer security, cybersecurity or information technology security (IT security) is the protection of computer systems and networks from information disclosure, theft of or damage to their hardware, software, or electronic data, as well as from the disruption or misdirection of the services they provide.[viii]Can computer systems and networks really be protected from information disclosure, theft or damage to their hardware in an AI and IoT environment? How is AI and IoT protecting these systems from disruption or misdirection of the services they provide?
1.3.4. PRODUCT LIABILITY
One legal issue relating to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) we cannot neglect is the issue relating to product liability. Product liability refers to a manufacturer or seller being held liable for placing a defective product into the hands of a consumer.[ix]”Product liability law” is the set of legal rules concerning who is responsible for defective or dangerous products but they are different from ordinary injury law.[x] The question that comes to mind then is can a manufacturer be held liable for a defective product in the hands of a consumer under an AI and IoT environment?
1.4. HOW ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) AND THE INTERNET OF THINGS (IOT) IS CHANGING THE LEGAL INDUSTRY
The widespread adoption of AI technology is set to transform the legal sector and disrupt the future of legal work.[xi]Through the use of automation, repetitive legal tasks will be carried out by AI technologies with increased speed and accuracy, allowing paralegals and lawyers to focus on cognitively challenging tasks.[xii]As a result, some job profiles within the legal sector are likely to shift away from traditional skill sets, as law firms look to recruit in-house data scientists and innovation managers to help them scan and drive technological R&D within a competitive market.[xiii] The IoT also introduces what might be termed the Internet of Law. This describes a concept where some measures of law enforcement are integrated with autonomous systems.[xiv] Connectivity to a multitude of information and data sources will provide lawyers with instant, real-time access to valuable data, supporting the ability to represent and solve clients’ issues quickly and efficiently.[xv] Automation of administration systems and tasks will also allow lawyers to spend more time on cases rather than time consuming paperwork.[xvi] We cannot stop this development process as it has become part of us, but we can try to maximize them for effective justice delivery and to better plan ahead.
The world we live in today is constantly evolving. We use AI and IoT in our respective practices. AI and IoT based tools are becoming more effective and useful in the legal industry. A few law firms are already keying into this new development process. Some law firms have already adopted AI software to predict litigation outcomes. Some others have begun to use AI-based processes to manage large sets of documents, receive contracts and automate many other legal activities. While some others also use IoT based processes to access real time valuable data and automate administration system. In tackling the legal issues in AI and IoT, as relating to data privacy and protection; using behavioral modelling, the AI technology helps identify malware and takes automated measures to counter the impact. The technology helps augment human surveillance and enhances the security resources that help stay ahead of breaches.[xvii] As relating to Intellectual Property Rights, for AI and IoT to fully unleash their potential to protect the rights of people’s property, it is important that they be governed by the law and in particular by IP law. As relating to cyber security AI and IoT can protect computer systems from disruption or misdirection of the services they provide through the use of computer security and information technology security to protect the systems, infrastructure and information from any cyber attack. As relating to product liability device manufacturers need to think carefully about how they market their products, frame their warranties, and craft liability provisions that are included in consumer use agreements.[xviii]The role lawyers and law firms for an efficient functioning of the modern economy cannot be underrated. The writer is of the view that it is necessary for all the law firms to welcome and embrace AI and IoT technology and tools to begin to build internal AI and IoT practices; as this new system will help to create a perfect balance between lawyers and their clients.
[iii] A.Iera, C. Floerkemeier, J. Mitsugi, and G.Morabito. The Internet of Things. Guest Editorial. In IEEE Wireless Communications, Vol.17, Issue 6, 2010.
[viii] Schatz, Daniel; Bashroush, Rabih; Wall, Julie (2017). “Towards a More Representative Definition of Cyber Security”. Journal of Digital Forensics, Security and Law. 12 (2). ISSN 1558-7215.