Can Contract Specialists and Lawyers be Automated?

The other day I saw this question on Quora: “Can artificial intelligence replace lawyers, politicians, and diplomats?” Translating this to my world: can contract specialists and lawyers be automated? This is the answer I gave.

No, but lawyers are already and will be using and collaborating more closely with artificial-intelligence-enabled software (AI) (like already is happening in man-machine engineering).

And the combination is extremely powerful. Politicians and diplomats may follow this trend and start using similar AI-based expert systems.

It is a well-known fact that in chess neither a chess master ‘of flesh and blood’ nor the best artificial intelligence chess software (like the famous IBM’s Deep Blue) can win on their own from a chess master working together with similar chess software. This combination is unbeatable.

The same will happen (and is happening) in contract and other negotiations already where lawyers are using intelligent negotiation software to assist them in negotiations. This is certainly leading to innovations and other ways of working.

But can it replace them completely? Will we have fully automated lawyers and contract managers?

We also shouldn’t forget that AI is still man-made and programmed by humans (with all their limitations).

Here one of many questions. How is AI going to deal with lawyers, politicians, and diplomats who actually ethically and for other reasons (opportunism in the case of politicians) are permitted or even expected for what they consider to be ’the good cause’ to misrepresent certain events or subjects?

In many (if not all) cases in politics, justice, and diplomacy, the ‘logical’ or ‘rational’ outcome (or compromise) is absolutely not the ‘best’ outcome as we all know.

Artificial intelligence can and will improve what we’re doing but it can only assist and will not replace lawyers, politicians, and diplomats.

Even if some scientists (and authoritarian leaders out there) would really like to argue differently.

So what is your take on this? Do you see a dark future for contract specialists and lawyers losing their jobs and being replaced by smart machines? Or are you more of an optimist and see a better world with new opportunities where humans and machines are collaborating to get to the best solutions for whatever they’re working on?

Are you today struggling with issues where you think AI may help? Like speeding up the proposal and negotiation process? Automating contract management?  Which tool to select?

Even if it’s something small. I’d love to hear more.

Talk soon and regards,


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