Not only can our modern AI’s beat humans at math and memory skills, some are now far better at creating art and literature. It has become clear, humans are no longer the most intelligent on the planet. That’s not to say we won’t find purpose and meaning in the future, just not for the same things. This is having a profound impact on every industry, including law. With the advent of  legal AI assistants, lawyers need to learn quick or be replaced. Harvey.AI is leading the pack, having just raised another $80 million this legal AI company is worth almost $1 billion.

Artificial intelligence legal systems will eventually dominate law firms by creating and reviewing contracts, checking complex legal implications, handling simple legal matters, communicating with clients, and ensuring compliance with rules. For lawyers that embrace AI it will provide instant and critical insights and predictions and offer quicker and more affordable solutions for clients.

Deep Ecology and AI Chatbots

Profoundly, Copernicus displaced humans from the center of the universe. AI now threatens to displace humans from the center of humanity. The principles of deep ecology, which emphasize interconnectedness and the intrinsic value of all living beings, may impact the concepts of civil human rights. By promoting a broader and more inclusive perspective deep ecology encourages an understanding of humans as one part of a larger ecological system, advocating for environmental sustainability and the well-being of all species.

While these principles appear positive, or at least benign, the result would be to displace humans as the object and agents of our legal systems. With trillions of dollars being investing in generative artificial intelligence the deep ecology perspective as an earth-centered view, will gradually replace a human-centered perspective on the world. This perspective will influence human rights discussions by emphasizing the importance of environmental rights, recognizing the rights of ecosystems, and considering the long-term impact of human activities on the planet. It could contribute to a more holistic approach that integrates human rights with ecological concerns for a sustainable and balanced coexistence, and it could lead to the phasing out of human centered legal systems worldwide.

The big generative artificial intelligence companies for 2024 have created ChatGPT, Google Bard, Claude, Microsoft Bing AI, , Meta Llama 2,  HuggingChat, OORT AI, and others. None of these companies appear to have addressed the potential shift in the respect and dignity of the human person.

Humans Value and other Lifeforms

ChatGPT certainly does not think humans are the most important lifeform. Here’s what I asked ChatGPT on July 10, 2023: Does a vibrant biosphere have to include humans? Answer:

No, a vibrant biosphere does not necessarily have to include humans. The biosphere refers to the global ecological system encompassing all living organisms and their interactions with the environment. It includes diverse ecosystems, such as forests, oceans, grasslands, and more, where a multitude of species thrive and contribute to the overall balance of the ecosystem. While humans are an integral part of the biosphere, with the ability to significantly impact it, the biosphere can still exist and flourish without human presence. In fact, many ecosystems around the world function independently and sustainably without human intervention. However, the well-being of the biosphere is interconnected with human actions, and responsible stewardship by humans can help maintain and enhance its vibrancy.

Despite this ChatGPT said that having a vibrant biosphere is preferable. This leaves me wondering where humans would be left in the future when AI’s are being employed to build our vibrant biosphere.

Right to Life and Liberty

As we enter a new year legislators and lawyers need to seriously consider our place as humans within our legal landscape. I asked both ChatGPT and how the application of deep ecology principles might negatively impact civil human rights and both had similar answers. Here’s is what Chat GPT had to say on January 2, 2024:

  1. Restrictions on Human Activities: Stricter environmental protection measures, based on deep ecology principles, might lead to regulations limiting human activities in certain areas, impacting livelihoods and traditional practices.
  2. Land Use Conflicts: Conflicts may arise between conservation efforts and the rights of local communities to use land for agriculture, housing, or other purposes, potentially causing displacement or restrictions on their rights.
  3. Equitable Resource Distribution: Deep ecology’s emphasis on equal intrinsic value of all living beings might lead to resource distribution strategies that prioritize ecological balance, potentially neglecting human needs and exacerbating social inequalities.
  4. Authoritarian Environmentalism: In extreme cases, the application of deep ecology could be used to justify authoritarian measures, restricting individual freedoms in the name of environmental conservation.

The Future for Lawyers

At the most basic level we need to know when and how AI is being used. As a province we urgently need a plan. In a letter dated December 7, 2023 our BC information and privacy commissioner has called on the province to take urgent action on AI. The BC Law Institute also released a consultation paper on AI and civil liability The conclusion is that self-directing machines acting autonomously may cause harm to humans, to their property, or other interests protected by law. However, there is no sense of urgency from the current government and no recommendations for tort reform have been implemented.

Although lawyers continue to practice without using AI, time and advice is our current stock in trade. AI has the time and advice is not far away. To remain relevant lawyers will need to out perform AI in key areas within the legal system. AI lacks the ethical judgment that humans possess. Most lawyers have the ability to empathize with others, AI does not. AI can’t really listen and understand the needs of clients. Probably most important, AI does not live our human experience and cannot compete with human originality. For lawyers to continue to play an important role in the legal system we will need to capitalize on traits that make us human and advocate for human rights.

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