Legal Challenges In The Age Of Digital Revolution
Mar 27, 2017 03:58 PM EDT
Software's dominance has become a fact of life. While almost every sector of society has been exposed to the headwinds of the digital revolution, governments and the legal profession have not. In fact, the rise of technology through complex software systems has led to unseen legal challenges.
A good example of one of the legal challenges was seen last year, when the U.S. Department of Transportation wrote to Google pointing out that the government would interpret "driver" in the context of Google's described motor-vehicle design, referring to the car's artificial intelligence. In the context of law, this means that regulations traditionally meant to govern the society are adapting to the changing technology.
Similarly, complex algorithms are being used in areas like mortgage and credit decisions, criminal justice, immigration systems, and national security, amongst others, according to Andreessen-Horowitz. This shift caused by technology is likely to change traditional job description of lawyers, and cause a major legal challenge.
But it's not only about the lawyers, legal advice might have to change too, especially for the average citizens. Studies show that an estimated 80 percent of the legal needs of the poor in the U.S. go unmet, according to Financial Times. In fact, the older the years get, the harder the inner workings of government have become for the needy, and the higher the legal challenges become.
The legal challenges are already driving governments to embrace a software-based approach to interpret the law in accordance with technology. For instance, the Obama administration recognized the importance of the changing dynamics in 2013, and signed an executive order to make federal laws machine-readable to ease the burden on accessing the law.
While efforts like this may only become more pressing, the future of creating new opportunities in the field of law through the rise of technology seems bright. A software-driven approach will not only enable new technologies to remain compliant with the law, it will also enable easier access to legal information.