AI legal tech will need direct regulation

Dr Noel Semple of the University of Windsor School of Law in Toronto, Canada, says because technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) in legal services has become so powerful, regulators will have to regulate the tech itself rather than the providers. Dr Semple gave the example of medical devices, which are subjected to a separate regulation regime. If a doctor prescribed a device that was not fit for purpose, the manufacturer would be responsible, whereas lawyers were held responsible for the technology they employed. “It may be necessary to say, look, these technologies, the [AI], the big data applications that are used to augment legal service provision are so esoteric and so powerful that it’s not sufficient to expect the provider to be held responsible. We actually have to go to the source and regulate the technology itself.” Dr Semple also suggests the slow advance of legaltech in the UK is because lawyers are intrinsically conservative about innovation” and argues watchdogs should be careful not to “snuff out” the “flame of innovation” in an attempt to regulate for every eventuality.

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