Google CEO Sundar Pichai said he thinks artificial intelligence will make the law profession better and that he’s “willing to almost bet” there will be more lawyers a decade from now.
Pichai said in an interview with The Verge that although AI might have some unintended consequences for the profession, he thinks more people will become lawyers “because the underlying reasons why law exists and legal systems exist aren’t going to go away, because those are humanity’s problems.”
Twenty years ago people were predicting that tech would wipe out entire job categories but “that hasn’t fully played out,” Pichai said. He said “it’s not exactly clear” to him how AI will affect jobs in the future.
“I do think there are big societal labor market disruptions that will happen,” Pichai said. “Governments need to be involved. There needs to be adaptations. Skilling is going to be important. But I think we shouldn’t underestimate the beneficial side of some of these things, too.”
Legal services jobs, such as paralegals and legal assistants, are among the top roles AI is likely to replace, experts previously told tech experts. The legal industry has a small number of roles, and those jobs had already undergone AI automation before the rise of popular generative AI tools like ChatGPT.
“The data is actually quite structured, very language-oriented, and therefore quite amenable to generative AI,” Anu Madgavkar, a partner at the McKinsey Global Institute.
However, Madgavkar said AI won’t be able to fully automate legal jobs, because human judgment is still needed to meet client and employer demands. Instead, Madgavkar said it’s more of a “productivity boost.”
Pichai told The Verge he thinks “governments and legal systems will always have to grapple with the same set of problems,” when new technology emerges. He said seeing people trying to think ahead about AI’s potential downsides gives him comfort, because “we need to anticipate as early as we can.”
In an interview on “60 Minutes” in April, Pichai called AI “the most profound technology humanity is working on. More profound than fire, electricity, or anything that we have done in the past.”
Google in march released its own AI chatbot, Bard and unveiled its new AI-powered search engine at Google I/O this week.