Fiction and Future Law

I am interested in putting together a short story collection of sci-fi law stories. Below is the beginning of one. Not sure if this is an opening crawl, or something else yet. Lots of writing and editing will still need to happen, of course. Enjoy!

As the sophistication of AI increased, the need for living legal representation decreased. It started with a simple bot to challenge parking tickets. Shortly after that, contract drafts were selected by bots. Then AI made suggested negotiation points. Then it began negotiating on our behalf. At each step, another set of lawyers was put out of work.

The last surviving areas were in legal scholarship–which was augmented by AI researchers–and litigators. AI hadn’t quite caught up to the nuance of trial strategy when 12 jurors, and multiple human witnesses were involved. It wasn’t great at the rhetoric needed to sway emotions. Not yet, anyway.

But, technology kept pushing forward into the legal industry. And the best place to beta test litigator AIs was in misdemeanor criminal defense–low stakes, common fact patterns, and most importantly, limited power on the part of the first test clients. Indigent criminal defendants couldn’t afford to go elsewhere. Besides, they always complained that they wanted a “real lawyer” instead of their public defender. The complaint would make a lot more sense with a terminal screen and a synthetic voice.

You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say, can and will be used against you. You have the right to an attorney, if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be programmed for you…

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