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Lawyers say AI will not replace them but assist their work

(People's Daily Online)    16:58, August 22, 2017

(Chinanews.com/Zhong Xin)

A senior lawyer in Kunming of southwest China's Yunnan province says the emergence of artificial intelligent (AI) will enhance their work.

An intelligent legal services platform was launched in Kunming on Aug. 20, and the system has provided legal services for over 10,000 people since it was put into trial operation in April.

According to statistics, the AI system outperformed human lawyers in terms of the quantity and quality of the cases solved and in the number of good reviews.

It takes a lawyer three days to write a legal report, which could cost 3,000 yuan ($450), while AI can do it in only 3 minutes for free.

Will diligent, tireless AI replace human lawyers? Wu Xia, a senior lawyer in Kunming and the man who developed the technology three years ago, said his intention was not to replace human lawyers but to make them more competitive.

Wu said there are not enough lawyers in China to satisfy rising demand for professional legal services, and many people cannot afford the high price of legal services.

In addition, most of the country's resources for legal services are concentrated in big cities, leaving people in smaller cities and rural areas with little access to high-quality legal assistance.

Since its trial operation, the AI system has been used by over 530,000 times, and more than 80 percent of the people think the reports are professional and useful and more than 91 percent say its consulting services are helpful.

People can use the online service for free as long as they are online, Wu said. The system is built on a massive database of cases and legal knowledge, covering fields such as criminal, labor, marriage, and traffic.

The AI lawyer is installed with an experience store, the more it works, the smarter it will become. "At the beginning, the AI lawyer was not so experienced, but after three months of operation and practice, it becomes a senior lawyer," Wu said. The legal advice the AI lawyer provided for clients has been recognized and praised by many human lawyers.

Although the "AI lawyer" has proved useful, other tasks, such as advising clients, writing legal briefs, negotiating deals, and appearing in court are beyond the reach of computers, said Zhao Yao, chairman of the Kunming Lawyers' Association.

The "AI lawyer" makes lawyers more productive, efficient, and aware about their domain of expertise, Zhao said. The system can provide consulting services, while human lawyers will do more complex tasks.

The coordination of AI technology and human lawyers will greatly improve the quality of legal services and provide the public with more sound, timely, and accurate services, said Sun Yuewen, director of the Kunming Judicial Bureau. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Du Mingming, Bianji)

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