It was fascinating to read the other day that two systems were able to communicate with each other through their own modified use of English. Some might think this is very scary indeed.

Whatever our fears about artificial intelligence, it is clear that systems are being used increasingly to programme our routines whether in work or outside it. I want to say we are assisted by them but “programme “may be more accurate as we are, more often than not, subject to their requirements as anyone who frequently forgets his password will agree.

 

This is also an area which is evolving very quickly and it seems to me that the law is only following from behind. For example it is only last year that the Regulation (EU) No 910/2014 (the eIDAS Regulation) went into force (on 1 July 2016) setting up an EU wide framework for the execution of documents by electronic means. This allows the use of cloud technology so customers can even generate and validate electronic and digital signatures on the move using their smartphone or tablet. But what is next?

 

The use of Systems is bringing further challenges in to the everyday area of law.

 

For example, instead of standard documents we are seeing more use of phone texts as evidence in our cases. I would be most surprised if any of them were written with that use in mind.

 

Does anyone actually read the terms and conditions before ticking a box to say he has? This applies to businesses just as to consumers. (It seems, rather perversely, that terms and conditions are getting longer by the way.)

 

There is a pressure to standardise everything and, while legal principles should be administered with consistency, each case is special and a client should be a person and not a number.

 

While Systems can work very well for us, they cannot think for us—yet. I wonder if there is a temptation to rely on them too much in haste. Perhaps it is only when we stop being lazy that we will feel in better control.

 

 

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