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Artificial Intelligence, Superintelligence… and Our Latest Book

Written by Russell Alexander / (905) 655-6335

We’ve been hearing a lot about Artificial Intelligence (AI) lately.   If you are one of the many people with a Family Law dispute working its way through the Canadian justice system, you might be curious about how AI might impact you – and more specifically, the lawyer you’ve chosen to represent you. 

Well, the short answer is this: AI, automation and even “superintelligent” AI will all have profound impact on Family Law.  And the tasks you’ve hired your lawyer to do for you, are just the beginning.

Admittedly, the human element and expertise of your Family lawyer remains invaluable.  He or she applies critical thinking and judgment to your dispute, and works toward the best and most economical solution for you. 

But AI has many strengths that can help with this task.  Here are just a few: 

  • Contract analysis and drafting:  Your lawyer can use AI to help with analyzing your separation agreement or other domestic contracts you may have in place.  This includes automatically flagging important clauses, and identifying potential risks and inconsistences.  He or she can also use it to generate new contracts based on predefined templates.  All this saves your lawyer time, so he or she can focus on more complex tasks.
  • Legal research and document review:  As your matter proceeds towards court, your lawyer can use AI systems to efficiently analyze vast amounts of legal data, including case law and statutes. This speeds up and streamlines the legal research done on your behalf. 
  • Legal analytics and prediction: AI can be used to analyze past legal cases and outcomes.  Your lawyer can use this for insight in on the potential outcome of your case.  He or she can also develop legal strategies and determine settlement options. This leads to more informed decision-making. 
  • Automating workflow:  Finally, your lawyer can use AI-powered tools to automate routine administrative tasks in his or her office, such as scheduling, billing, and document management. This frees up his or her time for more complex and strategic work.

So clearly AI has a big potential role in helping your lawyer to help you. But this begs the question:  Are there any limits?”

The answer to this question is still unforeseen, but one of the hot topics around it is whether AI can reach the point of “superintelligence”.  This is the still-hypothetical point where AI systems surpass human intelligence across virtually all domains.  Although still speculative, a superintelligent AI could bring much value to our everyday lives.  The benefits include:

  • Rapidly advancing technology: Scientific and technological progress could be advanced at an unprecedented rate:  Speedier innovations, and rapid solutions to complex problems.  Medicine, physics and engineering could see unprecedented breakthroughs.
  • Scientific discoveries and understanding: Superintelligent AI could help scientists gain profound insights into complex phenomena. This includes formulating and testing theories, analyzing vast amounts of data, and identifying patterns and correlations. The hastens understanding of the universe, biology, and other scientific domains. 

But on the flip-side, there are many valid ethical, economic and existential concerns as well:

  • Potential risks and control:  If AI systems surpass human intelligence, it might develop goals or values that are misaligned with human values. 
  • Existential risks: Superintelligent AI, if not properly designed or controlled, could possibly engage in harmful actions to optimize its goals – perhaps disregarding human safety, or inadvertently causing catastrophic outcomes.
  • Ethical considerations: The question of how a superintelligent AI should be used, and its impact on society, is a fundamental one. Transparency, accountability, and fairness are key considerations.

As you can see, the impact of AI – and possibly superintelligent AI – is complex, far-reaching, and always developing.  Especially when it comes to Family lawyers using them to help their clients, it will be interesting to see how far it can go.

If you find this theme interesting, you might want to take a look at our latest book, titled “Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Profession”.

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About the author

Russell Alexander

Russell Alexander is the Founder & Senior Partner of Russell Alexander Collaborative Family Lawyers.