Ever imagined a robotic future for law firms – a place where robots and artificial intelligence are in complete command and where lawyers as we know them are, well, almost irrelevant?
Well, imagine harder. Because that state of what has been described as “structural collapse” is coming according to a report on the future of the law.
The report, Civilisation 2030: The near future for law firms, by Jomati Consultants, predicts a future which for lawyers is right around the corner.
It looks at a world in which population growth is actually slowing, with “peak humanity” occurring as early as 2055, and ageing populations bringing a growth in demand for legal work on issues affecting older people, reports Legal Futures.
This could mean more advice needed by healthcare and specialist construction companies on the building and financing of hospitals, and on pension investment businesses, as well as financial and regulatory work around the demographic changes to come; more age-related litigation, IP battles between pharmaceutical companies, and around so-called “geriatric-tech” related IP.
The report’s focus on the future of work contained the most disturbing findings for lawyers. Its main proposition is that AI is already close in 2014. “It is no longer unrealistic to consider that workplace robots and their AI processing systems could reach the point of general production by 2030… after long incubation and experimentation, technology can suddenly race ahead at astonishing speed.”
By this time, ‘bots’ could be doing “low-level knowledge economy work” and soon much more. “Eventually each bot would be able to do the work of a dozen low-level associates. They would not get tired. They would not seek advancement. They would not ask for pay rises. Process legal work would rapidly descend in cost.”