Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Use Artificial Intelligence In Legal Services, NITDA Boss Tasks Young Lawyers

The director-general, National Information Technology Development Agency, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi.
The director-general, National Information Technology Development Agency, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi.

The director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, has urged upcoming lawyers to adopt Artificial Intelligence (AI) in their practices, to offer seamless and easy-to-use services to clients.

Abdullahi, who made the call during the Young Wigs’ Conference, themed “Techonomy: what law school doesn’t teach you”, organised by the Legal Concierge, in Kano State, pointed out that Artificial Intelligence is not here to steal peoples’ jobs, but make work easier.

He emphasised the need to build a system with legal minds and perception, because Artificial Intelligence is “taking over everything”.

He said: “We need to look at how this digital system displaces our own jobs and professions. As lawyers, most of your work is to analyse documents, give advice and other things, which AI can do better than you. Now, are you going to compete with AI or do you want it to augment what you do?” he asked.

This challenge, he added, can be seen as an opportunity and a source of inspiration to look into how Artificial Intelligence can be used to help clients, and make work better.

“Today in our generation, the big question is, ‘to what extent should our lives be governed by powerful digital system and on what terms?’ 

“We have social media that attempts to control what we see and do. Also, we live in an increasingly technological era were separating your online life from that offline is difficult.

“This, increasingly quantifies a society where all you do is captured, stored and processed by a giant tech company. They know everything about you and they can picture you more than you can picture yourself, because they watch every minute of your life and who you spend it with and this gives them a three-fold effect on us; first, they put constraint on whatever we do and they have their own internet regulation ‘this is what you can say and this is what you cannot say’.

“Secondly, they control freedom of movement with autonomous, programmed vehicles and they won’t stop until they reach their destination.

“Lastly, they control our perception. Whatever we are doing, we rush to Google and Google gives personalised information. The answer they give you can be different from what they will give another person,” he said.

He, therefore, noted that as learned professionals, young lawyers’ debate should focus more on how to govern the system by “building a system with a legal mind and perception, because AI is taking over everything.

“You can also use AI for legal services. Based on a World Bank report, even in the US, more than 80 per cent of Americans do not have legal services.

“The focus should be on how can we make legal services available for everyone. How can we build a system with a legal mind? How can we use AI in legal services to be more human-centric”? the DG enquired.

The Young Wigs’ Conference is an annual event aimed at orientating young lawyers, students of the Nigerian Law School, 4th and 5th year students of law faculties in Nigerian universities and other interested persons on what to expect after school and in the course of their legal practices.

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