As artificial intelligence (AI) improves by leaps and bounds, more and more jobs traditionally done by humans appear to be at risk. The number of self-service checkouts in supermarkets and fast food restaurants is on the rise, deliveries are being done by drone and manufacturing is becoming increasingly robot-friendly.
It doesn’t stop there. If a recent BBC report is to be believed, even lawyers are under threat from the great robot uprising.
Turns out that an AI program called ‘Case Cruncher Alpha’ has bested human lawyers in one test. Both the program and 100 lawyers were given the basic facts regarding hundreds of cases of mis-sold PPI (payment protection insurance) and asked to predict if the claim would ultimately be successful. The human’s had a 66.3 per cent accuracy rate, whereas the AI ran away with this particular contest with an accuracy rate of almost 87 per cent.
But what does this have to do with divorce? Well, the current government is pushing an online divorce system. This is designed to eliminate paperwork and time and save money for Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals service. Perhaps this is just the start. If robots can do a better job with PPI cases, why not with divorces? We could end up with a fully automated divorce system.
Obviously this is a slight exaggeration (for the time being at least!) but is it really a good idea to take the lawyers out of a legal process?
Since the legal aid cuts were enacted, the number of litigants in person has risen significantly. This is causing stress and delays for both the courts and the litigants themselves. People who are not lawyers are bound to make mistakes on matters of law, in the same way that people who are not doctors are bound to make mistakes on matters of medicine. When mistakes are made, cases take longer.
Divorce is often one of the most significant events of someone’s life. The importance of doing it well cannot be overstated. Additionally, divorce is always more than just getting that decree absolute. What happens to the children? Who gets the house? How will the money be split? These are all important issues that can be difficult to face at an emotionally charged time. Having someone who not only knows the law, but understands the human element of this process can only be a benefit.
As society rushes towards a world of AI at breakneck speed, we should remember that humans have not yet outlived their usefulness. This is especially true when it comes to divorce.
If you have any questions about the divorce process and want to talk to one of our solicitors, please do not hesitate to contact us. We promise you won’t end up talking to a robot.
Photo by Freddy Alberto Suárez Guerrero via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.