The AI and Law Series | Characteristica Universalis Lex: Artificial Intelligence and the Ghosts of LegalTech Past
30 October 2020 • 1:00 PM (EDT) 2:00 PM (EDT)
- Christopher Markou, Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge.
The question ‘is law computable?’ immediately recalls the classic jurisprudential question: ‘what is law?’ – a question posed by both legal pragmatists and idealists. For tough-minded pragmatists, the question ‘what is law’ might entail little more than a prediction of whether those in authority will or will not stop a planned action or penalise a completed one. This pragmatic approach appeals to business—including the burgeoning LegalTech industry—because efficiency (read: throughput) is the name of the game. After all, commercial clients don’t concern themselves with esoteric legal values, and non-lawyer clients may not even recognise them. Rather, the question is really whether some law enforcement body or judge will stop, penalise, or reward the action. If the law is reframed as the task of predicting behaviours and proactively intervening, the skills needed to practice law may become similarly circumscribed, more formulaic, and more readily computable.
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This content has been updated on 30 November 2021 at 14 h 50 min.