You are here:
  1. Home
  2. Support services
  3. Events
  4. Past Events
  5. Events Training

Robots and Lawyers: Partnership of the future

  • Robots and lawyers logo On 21 June 2016, the Law Society hosted a conference on the topic of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in law.

    Watch the event

    Can't see the video? Watch the event on YouTube

    back to top

    About the conference

    Artificial intelligence and machine learning technology have made significant progress in recent years. Arguably, legal and ethical thinking about the societal implications could now be lagging behind this technical progress.

    We explored how machine learning is currently being used, how it may be used in the future and what the legal implications could be. The discussion will also examine the potential liability and regulatory considerations in relation to machine learning, and the role of the law and lawyers in this rapidly evolving area.

    back to top

    Conference topics

    • Overview of the government's position in relation to innovation and technology. The social and economic benefits of technological innovation, eg robotics and autonomous systems as one of the 'eight great technologies' supporting the UK's strengths in science and business capabilities.
    • The current state of the art in AI applications, such as IBM Watson, how they have developed and what further progress we can expect in the next few years.
    • The technologies available for 2020, such as driverless cars and Google DeepMind, and the application of law to AI systems - for example, where accountability lies if something malfunctions.
    • How AI is already being applied to the solution of legal problems and the delivery of legal services.
    • The implications of AI for our understanding of the nature and ethics of law: black letter rules, social context and how law evolves. Will the law stagnate if it is 'captured' by machines?

    back to top

    Speaker biographies

    Image of Jonathan Smithers, president, the Law Society Jonathan Smithers, president, the Law Society
    Jonathan began his articles (now known as training contract) in 1984 at the firm CooperBurnett in Tunbridge Wells. He qualified in 1986, became an equity partner at the firm in 1990 and is now the senior partner. He has championed technology in law while president of the Law Society since 2015.



    Image of Professor Katie Atkinson, professor of Computer Science and head of the Department of Computer Science, University of Liverpool Professor Katie Atkinson, professor of Computer Science and head of the Department of Computer Science, University of Liverpool
    Katie's research concerns computational models of argument, with a particular focus on persuasive argumentation in practical reasoning and how this can be applied in domains such as law, e-democracy and agent systems.


    Image of Dale Lane, developer for IBM working on Watson Dale Lane, developer for IBM working on Watson
    Dale has been a developer of IBM Watson since 2011, after work on Watson started to transition from a research project demonstrated on a quiz show to a commercial solution. He is now a lead developer, helping to turn Watson into a platform enabling developers to exploit cognitive capabilities in their own apps.


    Image of Peter Wright, chair of the Law Society Technology & Law Reference Group Peter Wright, chair of the Law Society Technology and Law Reference Group
    Peter Wright is a solicitor and managing director of DigitalLawUK, the only law firm in the UK specialising solely in cybersecurity, data protection, freedom of information and social media law.




    Image of Professor Andy Wright, director, Strategic Technology, BAE SystemsT Professor Andy Wright, director, Strategic Technology, BAE Systems
    Andy has extensive experience in the use and development of artificial intelligence and autonomy, and he has fielded large scale systems. In his current role, he is responsible for BAE System's technology programme in the UK and reporting into the UK Board.


    back to top

    Speaker presentations


    back to top

    Gallery

    Question and answer session

    back to top

    Liked this event?

    This is the latest in a series of thought leadership activities from the Law Society.

    Keep an eye on the Events page for our next thought-leadership event.

    Make sure to add your comment below - we would love to hear what you thought: