May 27, 2024
Home » UNDERSTANDING THE ROLE OF AI AND PREDICTIVE ANALYTICS IN LAW
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This article has been written by Somdatta Ghosh, (a fourth-year law student at St. Xavier’s University, Kolkata)

Introduction

Artificial Intelligence has brought in many optimistic changes in different fields and reduced the complexity of various tasks. Many law firms and attorneys have started leveraging the power of AI to simplify their tasks and generate maximum output within a limited period. At the same time, through predictive analytics, an idea about future outcomes can be drawn and apt measures can be taken to mitigate the challenges that the future might bring. In this article, we’ll see how Artificial Intelligence and Predictive Analytics can serve as both a boon and a bane, and how we can capitalize on AI to bring in a positive change in the field of law.

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BENEFITS OF AI AND PREDICTIVE ANALYTICS

Firstly, we will discuss how AI and Predictive Analytics can mitigate various challenges that almost every legal professional goes through and how AI can make their lives simpler so that they can invest their time and efforts into things that have higher importance.

  • AI can help to scan a massive pile of documents within a few minutes

Attorneys had to read 1000-page judgments for hours to find out what was relevant for them. Attorneys, associates, and many other legal professionals have to invest a lot of time scanning a large number of documents to chunk out the relevant data and information. This process was extremely time-consuming and mentally draining. When this was done manually, there are higher chances of discrepancies as to err is human. However, if this work is outsourced to AI, the relevant data and case laws can be extracted within a few minutes and the legal professionals will have a lot of free time to invest in other vital matters.

  • Prediction of Future Outcomes and Risks

Predictive analytics analyses past data, identifies patterns, and predicts future outcomes and risks. In this way, people can safeguard themselves and allocate their resources accordingly to make sure that the risks can be avoided and any challenges arising in the future can be complied with.

The Mumbai Police recently predicted the likelihood of any crime in a particular area through AI and predictive analytics. Their system, after analyzing past crime data has identified patterns and predicted the happening of future crimes. The Mumbai Police has accordingly allocated their resources to ensure public safety and prevent the commission of any such crimes[1].

Another example is the system, CCTNS (Crime and Criminal Tracking Networks and Systems) developed by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). This system identifies habitual offenders and high-risk criminals through deep analysis of crime data nationwide. Based on this information, the investigating officers can safeguard the interests of the common public while monitoring the activities of these suspected individuals.

THE ETHICAL IMPLICATIONS OF AI AND PREDICTIVE ANALYTICS

There are two sides of every coin. Although AI and Predictive Analytics have a lot of benefits, they can also give rise to many ethical implications.

  • There can be bias and discrimination

AI and Predictive Analytics analyze past data to predict future outcomes. However, if the past data has been prejudicial to a marginalized community, or any community for that matter, then the suggested future outcomes will also be prejudicial to those communities and so will the measures taken to deal with such outcomes[2].

  • Privacy

AI and predictive analytics can bring in privacy concerns. Important documents and other confidential information are likely to be less protected. In cases of sexual assault, where it is mandatory to protect the identity of the victim under section 228A of the Indian Penal Code, the identity might not be protected and the AI cannot be held liable for the same. At the same time, this data can be misused to profile individuals for commercial purposes, surveilling them unlawfully and for other purposes other than the intended purpose[3].

  • Lack of Accountability and Transparency

AI can never substitute a judge. AI will always take a formalistic approach in dealing with various cases without analyzing the current scenario of the country or the struggles the people go through. For example, when Indira Gandhi was in Power, she wanted to take the entire control of the Judiciary. However, in the Keshavandha Bharati Case[4], our Judiciary system had retaliated and stated that the basic doctrine structure cannot be changed and even though it is changed, the review rests with the Judiciary. AI could not have retaliated in this manner in this situation.

If any judgment is flawed, people can always raise their voices and demand reforms as we had seen in the Mathura Rape Case[5], but here AI has no accountability to the common mass. At the same time, there is a lack of transparency since no one knows what is the exact procedure AI follows to come to a certain conclusion and there is a high chance that the system can be manipulated on behalf of the people who are in power[6].

WHAT SHOULD BE THE ROLE OF AI AND PREDICTIVE ANALYTICS IN LAW?

AI and Predictive Analytics can simplify the process of legal research to a great extent. They can save legal professionals or even students a lot of time and energy. They can also reduce the workload of the judges as well because when the task of legal research is being outsourced to AI, the judges can invest that time in adjudicating pending cases, which will result in a speedy delivery of justice. Attorneys usually outsource the task of legal research to some assistant, which often falls heavy on their pockets. So, if AI aids in legal research, it will be extremely economical for attorneys and other legal professionals.

AI can however never replace a judge or an attorney for that matter. The adjudication has to be done by a judge who has years of experience and skill in that particular domain to make sure that the judgment is in the spirit of equity, justice, and good conscience. Although AI can take up minor issues like a motor vehicle fine, a consumer complaint, and so on, all major decisions have to be taken by a judge so that he can be held accountable in case he falters.

CONCLUSION

To conclude, AI and Predictive Analytics, if used strategically, will certainly be a boon to the legal field as the burden on both attorneys and judges will be reduced to a great extent, which will increase the productivity and efficiency of those professionals. However, their usage should be restricted. AI and Predictive Analytics are a tool and should remain a tool and not substitute the judges under any circumstance.


[1] Soumitra Bose / TNN / Aug 25 2018, “A Silver Bullet for Cops: Crime-Predicting AI Tool: Mumbai News – Times of India” (The Times of India) accessed February 16, 2023

[2] Angwin, Julia et al. “Machine Bias: There’s software used across the country to predict future criminals. And it’s biased against blacks.” ProPublica, 23 May 2016, https://www.propublica.org/article/machine-bias-risk-assessments-in-criminal-sentencing.

[3] Mhlhoff, R. Predictive privacy: towards an applied ethics of data analytics. Ethics Inf Technol 23, 675690 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10676-021-09606-x

[4] Keshavandha Bharati vs. State of Kerela, Writ Petition (Civil) 135 of 1970

[5] Tuka Ram And Anr vs State of Maharashtra, 1979 AIR 185, 1979 SCR (1) 810

[6] Martin, Kirsten. (2019). Ethical Implications and Accountability of Algorithms. Journal of Business Ethics. 160. 10.1007/s10551-018-3921-3.


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