Thursday, 23 March 2023

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AI and blockchain could transform the courtroom – Cointelegraph Magazine

AI and blockchain could transform the courtroom – Cointelegraph Magazine

Earlier this year, Joshua Browder, CEO of AI startup DoNotPay, attempted to bring a robot lawyer into a California courtroom, despite almost certainly knowing that it was illegal in almost all 50 states to bring automated assistance like this into a courtroom.

DoNotPay bills itself as the “world’s first robot lawyer” whose goal is to “level the playing field and make legal information and self-help accessible to everyone.” It helps to serve society’s lower-income segment to lower medical bills, appeal bank fees, and dispute credit reports. It claims to have helped more than 160,000 people successfully contest parking tickets in London and New York.

It was denied entry to the California courthouse, however, because “under current rules in every state except Utah, nobody except a bar-licensed lawyer is allowed to give any kind of legal help,” Gillian Hadfield, professor of law and director of the Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society at the University of Toronto, tells Magazine.

Still, in the age of ChatGPT and other stunning artificial intelligence devices, Browder’s attempt could be a foretaste of the future.

“The DoNotPay effort is a sign of what is to come,” Andrew Perlman, dean and professor of law at Suffolk University Law School, tells Magazine. “Certain legal services, including many routine legal matters, can and will be delivered through automated tools. In fact, it is already happening at the consumer level in numerous ways, such as via LegalZoom.”

Such help is urgently needed in the view of many. In the U.S., low-income Americans “do not receive any or enough legal help for 92% of their civil legal problems,” according to a Legal Services Corporation study (2022). Almost half surveyed don’t seek help because of high legal costs, and more than half (53%) “doubt their ability to find a lawyer they could afford if they needed one,” according to the LSC survey.

“This access-to-justice gap is a serious problem, and automated tools can be an important part of the solution,” comments Perlman. 

Can AI democratize legal services?

It may only be a matter of time before AI reaches the courtroom. If so, it could help to wring human bias out of the legal system. “In a legal setting, AI will usher in a new, fairer form of digital justice whereby human emotion, bias and error will become a thing of the past,” says British AI expert Terence Mauri, author and…

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