Artificial Intelligence, Genetics, and the Law

Artificial Intelligence, Genetics, and the Law

Originally posted 2018-11-19 11:20:22

robot-laywer-primaryBy: Kristen Daly |

What defines us as human beings? When the founders put forth that “the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury…”, were there to be restrictions on who could serve on that jury? Will the legal field be able to keep up with advances in both technology and biotechnology? A recent mock article in the “Law practice 2050” section of the American Bar Association regarding altered humans serving on juries, though witty and humorous in its content, generates all of these questions through its inquisitive undertone.

Although genetic manipulation has not gone as far as to be able to create a human-animal hybrid as the article suggests, the field of biotechnology, specifically genetic engineering, is rapidly growing. With new advances such as the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technology, the human genome itself can be enhanced; replacing mutated and defective genes with functional ones. However, beyond disease testing, genetic testing is available for traits such as addictive behavior and athleticism.[1] If the future holds the real possibility to select for desirable traits in human testing, then the law would have to hold real regulation. Furthermore, lawmakers would need to ensure that their regulations would not discriminate solely against such altered individuals, thereby rendering any legislation unconstitutional.

Though both the resources and ethics of altered humans are ways away from coming to fruition, the future of the legal profession remains unclear as companies begin to see the advantages in using Artificial Intelligence regarding legal services. Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is essentially “the theory and development of computer systems which will perform tasks that normally require human intelligence.”[2] Although many legal process outsourcing companies, corporate legal departments, and law firms have adopted AI for review and standardization of documents[3], Artificial Intelligence is not set to replace human expertise. Rather, its main impact will be on “efficiency, risk mitigation, and dramatically shortening the time and reducing the cost of human review.”[4]

So this creates the question: If we already welcome the opportunity for Artificial Intelligence to help in the legal preparatory process, will we welcome the same opportunity for Artificial Intelligence or altered human beings to help in the ending trial and jury process?

[1] Danielle Simmons. “Genetic Inequality: Human Genetic Engineering.” Nature Education 1(1): 173 (2008)

[2] Greg Wildisen. “Is artificial intelligence the key to unlocking innovation in your law firm?” Legal Week (2015)

[3] Mark Cohen. “How Artifical Intelligence Will Transform The Delivery of Legal Services.” Forbes (2016)

[4] Ibid.


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