Artificial Intelligence (AI). However nebulous and varied it may be, the topic of AI continues to dominate headlines with multiple hype cycles and industry speculation. Around the globe, leaders in nearly every industry eagerly buy into the promises of AI to transform the way we work. Governments have also jumped on the bandwagon. Since 2018, under the Horizon 2020 programme, the European Commission has dedicated nearly €80 billion to strengthening AI research and innovation. Furthermore, guidelines and governance around the ethical use of AI and the data being captured to power these technologies continues to emerge from the Commission and other jurisdictions around the world.
While this momentum is significant, in practice, the return on AI’s promises is still largely unrealised outside the realms of a subset of global technology firms. Particularly in legal and compliance, meaningful disruption has yet to materialise. In a World Services Group survey of general counsel across Europe, only nine per cent believe impacts will be felt in the near term. More than half said they don’t expect AI to become a disruptor for five or more years and one-third said they don’t anticipate significant strides in the space for more than a decade.
With internal teams using data science skills to predict the future, the same techniques could be used for investigations over historic data. Findings can be used to provide counsel and other key stakeholders with critical insights to address their most pressing future challenges. Learnings from investigations can be integrated into ongoing compliance monitoring, creating a positive feedback loop of continual organisational learning.
It’s likely that customer-facing and sales and marketing teams are already using AI methods created by in-house data science teams to improve performance. Legal and compliance teams need not rush to pre-packaged solutions. Instead, they can consider approaches tailored towards their data, investigation and organisation. In-house and outside counsel are under extreme pressure to contain costs and leverage technology to optimise processes. A customised approach to draw insights from information across the entire lifecycle of a matter—from investigation to remediation to compliance—offers tremendous potential to support counsel and compliance teams with critical information. With it, they can identify and intercept bad behaviour, prevent litigation, resolve legal, regulatory and business matters more quickly, bolster compliance and reduce corporate risk.