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AI In Legal Studies

The COVID19 pandemic has only acted as a catalyst to speed up developments caused due to technology. As technology inevitably penetrated every sector, including the education sector. Crises and pandemics like the COVID-19 will come and pass; the technological revolutions may stay if provided by an efficient and effective method. This is particularly true given that such crises force us to accept solutions that have benefits like a reduction in transaction cost due to the boon of technology. Is Artificial Intelligence the inevitable next step in this growth trajectory?

The education sector has witnessed a phenomenal shift from the F2F model to an entirely online mode of teaching and learning. This shift has been almost instant given the absence of alternatives. If we were to effectively first address critical problems like access to technology, the primary issue is student engagement. However, kudos to the teachers with whom or without their training have adapted to the technological evolution, using LMSes and other tools to keep the students updated. Platforms such as SWAYAM and E-PATHSHALA have seen rapid growth in the number of student enrolment. Importantly, prestigious universities such as MIDS Geneva have started offering their mainstream and most sort-after courses through a purely online mode. This disruption has been embraced by an overwhelming majority of both the stakeholders – students and institutions. However, this is still a one size fits all solution. Students-centric learning is challenging when technology in education is like an old-fashioned television offering content in a fixed menu format. It is now critical to explore Artificial Intelligence as a viable alternative to this format.

To encourage student-centric learning is an essential need of the hour is to adopt technology like ITSs (Intelligent Tutoring Systems). The ITSs use deep-learning algorithms to provide personalized learning experiences, a one-on-one student-centric curriculum, often without the need of a human teacher. It can teach a multitude of different subjects ranging from math to chemistry. The research on ITSs is backed by institutions such as Carnegie Mellon University. Today, the method of customizing the ITSs to be able to teach a student a particular subject is by having a teacher train the computer first on not just that subject but also on how to teach. The computer doesn’t merely confine to solving a given problem in the manner in which it was taught, but innovates its methods of problem-solving through ‘generalizing’. Such breakthroughs are bound to improve efficiency. The ITSs can truly revolutionize education by removing redundant entry barriers such as age, catering to the needs of special learners, and getting rid of the one-size-fits-all approach through having personalized one-to-one tutoring, a luxury that only the upper class could previously afford. Such revolutions improve access to education which is supposed to be a fundamental right.

However, so far it has not dealt with humanities subjects and specifically law. As any law professor will tell you that teaching law requires interaction, questioning, and reading. The F2F interactions allowed for such dialogue to happen. Law as a subject to teach is extremely unique, unlike other subjects, questioning the very basis of law is very important. As Prof. Michael Sandel of Harvard School in his famous lecture 'Moral Side of Murder' takes students through one question and each student answers based on their experience, each answer adds to the knowledge of other students. How will ITSs recreate that? Will it be able to do so?

There is good news, programs on Negotiation in the U.S. for instance have moved to train negotiators through the use of technology. The technology used here involves recording the trainees’ audio and physical data including facial expressions, body language, and voice to collect and obtain customized smart metrics and provide personalized feedback, all while s/he engages in practice negotiations. Further, an avatar technology used is deliberately ingrained with customized biases and selective cultural traits against which a trainee can practice to hone his/her skills of cross-cultural negotiation.

The legal industry is drastically changing, and as per predictions by Deloitte that claims 39 per cent and McKinsey Global Institute estimates that 23 per cent of legal jobs will get automated shortly. Some institutions claim that, if all the legal technology available today is used in the legal industry, it would reduce lawyer’s work by 13 per cent. Given the need for efficiency in today’s competitive times, it becomes imperative for law schools to impart not merely theoretical legal education but also train them in effectively using such industry-specific tech and AI. Shortly, courses like technology and the law might just be taught by ITSs or AI!

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