AI and the human equation

By Spring 2018


Sometimes I worry that the pace of change is accelerating beyond our capacity as humans to manage it. And I’m not alone.

Ken Grady, a professor at Michigan State College of Law, is a self-styled “evangelist for new in law” who is concerned about the budding movement to turn lawyers into technocrats.

His argument (for the full story read “Why we don’t need more STEM grads in law schools”) is this: Society’s move to a hybrid future where artificial intelligence co-exists with humans is challenging laws, values and systems that never contemplated what they are being asked to govern. Sure, we need lawyers with some technical chops, but it’s critical we also train traditional lawyers (among others) who can see the big picture and think through how we marry “human” plus technology in ways that capture our values as a society.

For a real life example, check out our cover story on the use of predictive technology in the justice system for things like bail review. It begs the question: How do we explain tolerable risk to a machine when we don’t even agree on what constitutes justice and safety in the circumstances? Is technology going to drive our decision-making when people’s freedom is at stake?

Big questions. And it’s lawyers whose training and work is anchored in our values as a society – rule of law, human rights, privacy, among others –who can help build the framework that will help us decide how to use these powerful new tools.

There’s a real danger in times of rapid change that we ignore the consequences of what we’re doing. There’s too much at stake now to make that mistake.

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