AI and technology - This notary's perspective

I recently attended (via a livestream) a lecture on AI and technology in the notarial professional, delivered by Robert Bond, Deputy Vice President of the Notaries Society and a Chartered IT Professional.

This is something that interests me greatly as I am now offering digital notarial services. Before the lecture and its look at the pros and cons of the subject, I was of the opinion that AI, in its current form cannot replace a human in the legal profession. I may also have an underlying foreboding that the overreliance on technology will result in a Terminator 2 future (I definitely watched the film far too much as a child!). AI, whilst helpful in some cases, is only as good as the data we input. I feel that what AI or other technology lacks is human discretion. Lawyers are trained to interview clients. We can get a sense of what isn’t being said and can ask specific questions to ascertain the whole situation and respond with correct advice. As Robert also identified, was the use of the ‘sniff test’. It is imperative that it is used in our day to day lives, perhaps especially so in the work that the notarial profession offers.

Robert took us through a wide range of matters that notaries, and solicitors must consider when looking at using AI and technology in practice. We need to make sure that our client’s information and data is protected. This both from the platforms that we use in day-to-day case management to how we create and distribute the documents that have been notarised. For AI, whatever we input is then stored and used elsewhere. These would certainly fall fowl of GDPR.

From a business perspective how do the benefits outweigh the cons, what are they and who will it effect? From a liability standpoint – who is liable for the advice that AI gives? Is it the platform on which it is provided and its host? Robert had asked AI if it can provide legal advice, and its response was that it is not a lawyer!

Upon consideration of the lecture and conversations with clients, my opinion on AI hasn’t changed. I am open to the use of technology, in an ever-changing world that is constantly updating and migrating at an ever faster pace, the traditional paper format we notaries are requested to produce remains the main format for delivery. I expect that it will change, but I couldn’t begin to imagine at what rate.

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