Everybody is talking about artificial intelligence, but only few actually know the ins and outs of this subject. This will serve as a short and easily readable introduction.
Artificial intelligence (or AI) is one of the hottest buzzwords of our time. It refers to especially capable machines that possess the ability to make decisions based on past experience and data. They exist in many different forms and levels of complexity. The simplest forms of artificial intelligence are designed as rule-based systems or after simple mathematical models, while more complex systems are capable of dreaming and creative problem solving far beyond human imagination and intellect.
They are already in use in many different places, for example in Google Translate’s machine translation system, self-driving cars and chatbots. At the same time, the technology suffers from the hype. For example, when companies pretend to utilize artificial intelligence, while in reality performing parts of the technology’s core tasks manually.
Broadly speaking, artificial intelligence refers to technologies that think and act in a human way or at least imitate human thinking. Thus, artificial intelligence is able to make decisions based on past data. Essentially, artificial intelligence is able to calculate and act rationally, based on a number of relatively simple mathematical models. More advanced forms are furthermore capable of learning and deliberating on the same level as human beings.
Artificial intelligence is mainly divided into two categories.
1. The weak AI is able to imitate single aspects of human intelligence. An example would be a computer that has learned to respond to a number of simple chess moves.
2. The strong AI, that possesses intelligence of equal depth as a human being. More advanced forms are capable of dreaming and developing their own encrypted speech.
An artificial intelligence is defined by the amount of data it is fed. If it receives very simple data, it will not be able to make decisions on the same advanced level as one, that has a lot of information to draw from.
The term machine learning is often brought up as well, when talking about artificial intelligence. Machine learning characterizes machines. Artificial intelligence based on machine learning and formed like a neural network is called deep learning.
Artificial intelligence is used in many instances in the legal tech sector. It can be used to search for information in long legal texts and many agreements. There are even instances of AI being used to issue rulings.
Some believe, that artificial intelligence can help to make the legal system more neutral. There have been examples showing how differently judges rule based on the time of day and proximity to the lunch break. However, it should not be assumed that artificial intelligence makes purely neutral decisions. It will always form a decision based on the data it has been fed. For example, one AI has made racist rulings regarding parole in Florida’s prisons.