4 Artificial Intelligence Books Lawyers Must Read

Much has been written on technology's impact on the legal profession. We've already reviewed much of the literature here. But artificial intelligence promises to not only transform law, but the entire economy too. Here are our reviews on 4 essential books for lawyers to better understand how current technological trends impact their practice.


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Martin Ford, Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of Mass Unemployment, 2016

Readers of The Digital Lawyer will appreciate the significant labour savings legal technology enables. However, unless that labour can be re-deployed, those impacted by the technology (such as paralegals and junior lawyers) face unemployment. Most don’t believe unemployment is even an issue. New technology creates new jobs to replace those lost elsewhere.

Ford argues that, this time, it’s different – machine learning and robotics simply mean fewer people are needed – leading to mass unemployment and income inequality as a result of many jobs with some degree of routine disappearing due to automation. Considering the rapid advances in autonomous driving, Ford’s view of the world of the future has considerable force. Arguing that the traditional response to technology-driven unemployment – more education and training – does not work in these circumstances, Ford offers a choice: decide now whether the future will bring prosperity or catastrophe.

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Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies, 2016

An excellent overview of how technology-driven change will transform economies. Brynjolfsson and McAfee optimistically offer strategies for surviving the technological onslaught and prospering in a new economy. With economic indicators demonstrating rising underemployment and falling wages, The Second Machine Age is timely.

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Ryan Calo, A. Michael Froomkin and Ian Kerr, Robot Law, 2016

Technology futurists unanimously agree that robots and robotics will be an essential aspect of our future. Yet the legal, ethical and philosophical issues of robotics increasingly being integrated into our lives is surprisingly underdeveloped. Robot Law is the authoritative legal textbook for anyone interested in the legal issues and public policy challenges posed by robots. 

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Mireille Hildebrandt, Smart Technologies and the End(s) of Law, 2015

Hildebrandt explores the intersection of legal theory and new technologies such as big data, predictive analytics and the “internet of things”. An enjoyable read for lawyers interested in technology’s impact on fundamental legal concepts such as the rule of law, the presumption of innocence and equality before the law.

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