The Workchop Conversation with Ahbivardhan, Founder, Artificial Intelligence & Law

Written by Jesulayomi Adetola

December 8, 2021

The Workchop Conversations is an ongoing series of conversations with different players in both the law, tech & justice tech space, sharing about their work and innovative role within the space, promoting access to justice in Africa.

This week, we have Abhivardhan, the Managing Partner at Indic Pacific Legal Research LLP and the Executive Director, Media, Internationalism.in. He is also the President & Managing Trustee, Global Law Assembly, the Chairperson & Managing Trustee, Indian Society of Artificial Intelligence and Law. He serves as the Editor-in-Chief at the Indic Journal of International Law and the Indian Journal of Artificial Intelligence & Law. He is an author, and a bilingual poet. As a policy entrepreneur, he works in the field of technology law and policy.

Could you briefly talk about your legal background and your journey into Law and AI?

I have pursued law in India. I work in the field of international technology law. As the Chairperson and Managing Trustee of the Indian Society of Artificial Intelligence & Law, I have been contributing to the research building blocks of the Indian policy consensus in technology law, especially the ethics and policy of artificial intelligence. I have worked specifically in the anthromorphic impact and value of AI systems in the field of law & international relations. I have developed the academic proposition to define AI regularization approaches, in line with India’s cultural philosophies, & in line with the economic priorities of the Indo-Pacific region, in my initial works. I am of the view that AI can be entitled with rights, hut every AI is a specie itself.

What would you say influenced your drive for Law and AI?

The fact that artificial intelligence is a comprehensive technology, covering many species of disruptive and non disruptive tech, makes me motivating to work in the field of AI and Law.

Compared to popular belief, what does “Legal research” entail? What is the nexus between Legal Research and AI?

Legal Research is not mere usage of flimsy political and legal ideas. Policy, the science of politics, which differs nationally, and often internationally, shapes legal research. Yes, there are common threads such as understanding legal methods, like drafting, rules of interpretation, the judicial and administrative machineries and so on. However, addressing substantive and operational issues, is done by understanding policy realities, and shaping the law’s interpretative position & focus in the most appropriate way. As far as AI is concerned, my interest stems up simply because there are two aspects to the answer. The first aspect is the accessibility question, which is true. AI helps in making legal method simpler and effective. However, the second aspect inspires me more. So, in general, the comprehensive legal persona of AI and its “species” inspires me more per se, which is the second nexus.

What are your predictions for Law and AI in the next 3-5 years? Do you see AI replacing lawyers in the near future?

Nothing big is expected as far as the technological evolution of AI tech is concerned. It depends as to what kind of replacement AI will do also. The myth that Artificial General Intelligence will become overreaching, is not true, because AGI would not be 1 system, but a cluster of various micro-species of what we call as AI within the scope of ML. In law, regulatory challenges emerge as usual, so manual human autonomy of lawyers, will always be needed. The best AI can do is to ease it down and make it more “technically un-superfluous”. Let us see. I see the role of AI in legal research, but not enough to replace lawyers and even judges.

How do you relax after the day’s work?

I am an avid Indo-European culture enthusiast. I hear some Carnatic, Hindustani and Slavic music. Otherwise too, I dedicate myself to some creative work, and maintain my health at my best.

Funny question, you’ve been given a yacht. What do you name it?

Antyodaya

Who would you like to answer these questions?

Sanjay Notani, Partner at Economic Laws Practice, Dr Jeffrey Funk & Akash Manwani, Chief Innovation Consultant, ISAIL.

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