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Centre for Transformative Innovation & Swinburne Law School: Research Seminar

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Date: Thursday 16 March 2017
Venue: Moot Court, TD120, Hawthorn Campus

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Artificial Intelligence in legal practice and criminal justice

Associate Professor Lyria Bennett Moses,  Faculty of Law, UNSW


Advances in technology, in particular in artificial intelligence, will continue to have a significant impact on the discipline of law in academia, the practicing profession and the courts. While technological forecasting is a dangerous game, current trends suggest that over the next ten years there will likely be greater reliance on data analytic tools in assessing students, predicting judicial outcomes and making decisions about criminal defendants both pre- and post-conviction. There is also likely to be greater diffusion of expert systems offering standardised legal advice and legal documents, although it is less likely that there will be significant technological innovation in that field.

There are significant differences between an artificial intelligence that mirrors doctrinal logic (expert systems) and an artificial intelligence based on projection from empirical observation (data analytics). In particular, few legal professionals understand the mechanisms through which data analytics produces predictions. The limitations inherent and assumptions embedded in these tools are thus often poorly understood by those using them.

This essay will explore the limitations of artificial intelligence technologies by considering the ways in which what they produce (for clients, law students and society) differs from what they replace. Ultimately, if we, as legal professionals, want to harness the benefits and limit the detriments of new artificial intelligence technologies, we need to understand what their limitations are, what assumptions are embedded within them and how they might undermine appropriate decision-making in legal practice, legal academia and, most crucially, the judiciary.

About the speaker

Lyria is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law at UNSW Australia. Lyria's research explores issues around the relationship between technology and law, including the types of legal issues that arise as technology changes, how these issues are addressed in Australia and other jurisdictions, the application of standard legal categories such as property in new socio-technical contexts, the use of technologically-specific and sui generis legal rules, and the problems of treating “technology” as an object of regulation.

Lyria is currently a Key Researcher and Project Leader on the Data to Decisions CRC, exploring legal and policy issues surrounding the use of data and data analytics for law enforcement and national security. Lyria is also Chair of the Australia Chapter of the IEEE Society for the Social Implications of Technology, Academic Co-Director of the Cyberspace Law and Policy Community, Leader of the Law, Technology and Innovation Research Network at UNSW Law and a PLuS Alliance Fellow.

This research seminar is brought to you by Swinburne Law School and the Centre for Transformative Innovation. Join our monthly seminar series - check the Faculty of Business and Law events page for future seminars.

Contact Information: Jake Goldenfein
Email: Tel: +61 3 9214 5866