Approximately five years ago, machine learning could, with guidance from senior lawyers, effectively take over the time–intensive task of legal discovery, in which one party in a lawsuit combs through its documents to determine what it must show to the other side before trial. This job was traditionally done by junior lawyers, paralegals, increasingly-less expensive contract lawyers. Some said with dismay, that the change might be just the first step in the computerization of the law.
Economist Frank Levy, an MIT professor emeritus who, with Dana Remus, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law, are researching computers’ impact on the practice of law, explains “though machine learning does well with structured tasks like searching for relevant words, handling documents similar to others already identified, and even reconstructing simple summaries of a baseball game, it is far less adept at constructing something like a legal memo, where persuasiveness can rely on developing novel arguments”.
Levy, who co authored a book (with Harvard professor Richard Murnane) titled, The New Division of Labor,about how computers are changing employment and the job market, says”There’s much less structure in a legal memo, which is trying to figure out a strategic approach to an argument.”
It’s likely that work done by humans will increasingly involve innovative thinking, flexibility, creativity, and social skills, the things machines don’t do well. University of Oxford, researchers tried to quantify how likely jobs are to be computerized by evaluating how much creativity, social intelligence, and dexterity they involve. Choreographers, elementary school teachers, and psychiatric social workers are probably safe, according to that analysis, while telemarketers and tax preparers are more likely to be replaced. Most professions won’t go like that of the telemarketer, but the work involved is likely to migrate toward the tasks humans are uniquely skilled at, with automation taking over tasks that are rules-based and predictable.
Digital and mobile technologies are changing how and where we work, (at home or remotely), and who our competition is.Tianjin, China, there are riots where, taxi drivers are fighting the arrival of Uber and the bite it has taken out of their income. The people who drive for Uber are largely part-timers looking to make a little extra money. Uber customers in China take nearly one million rides a day, and management is investing more than $1.1 billion to expand into 100 more cities this year. The job of driving cars has not gone away, but the way that work is done is changing, and the transition is not painless.