Richard Susskind is one of the leading legal ‘futurologists’ in the world – and he thinks that many law schools are not properly training their students.
Speaking at a Society for Computers and Law meeting, he said
that in many UK law schools, the law is taught as it was in the 1970s. No regard for globalisation, commoditization, technology, AI… Most law professors are not remotely interested in this stuff.
While UK universities are not identical by any means to those in New Zealand and many local law schools have focused attention on some of these issues, the concerns are salient.
Susskind’s numerous books include the best-sellers, The End of Lawyers? (2008), Tomorrow’s Lawyers (2013) and The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts (2015). His writings have been translated into more than 10 languages, and he has been invited to speak in over 40 countries.
He believed very few graduates in law were suited to work in the law today – let alone tomorrow.
Susskind predicted humans would one day emotionally connect with robots – an area of artificial intelligence that is increasingly assuming legal tasks. These robots, he said, are being programmed to act as “helpers” that can detect human emotions and respond to them.
I have little doubt we will have affection for and will have feelings for the generations of robots that will be our helpers and companions.
Susskind’s controversial comments come in the same month as scientists at UCL and the University of Sheffield unveiled a new robotic judge. The high-tech AI software — which scanned over 580 human rights cases in order to create its algorithm — can now, according to its creators, predict the outcome of similar cases with 79% accuracy.
And this is only the beginning of applying Google-like algorithms to sort out litigation results and other high-end ‘solutions’ to current litigation work which are being developed in the US, UK and elsewhere.