The government, having approved the Concept for the Development of Machine-Readable Law Technologies, began work on the use of artificial intelligence in legal activities. Alexey Ryabov, advisor to the president of the Center for Strategic Research (CSR), discusses in a column for Kommersant how translating legislation into a machine-readable format will help increase the efficiency of state regulation, as well as advocacy and judicial activity.
In mid-September 2021, the government commission on digital development under the leadership of Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko approved the Concept for the Development of Machine-Readable Law Technologies in Russia. This is the first document designed to outline the contours of the target model that the state is striving for in the use of innovative technologies in legal activity.
Machine-readable technologies in law are understood as methods and tools with the use of which legal information is structured and translated into a format that can be read by a computer to make a decision. According to the concept, the development of machine-readable law in Russia should lead to its prevalence in the legislative body over the norms set forth in natural language, as well as to the creation of effective tools for a consistent presentation of legal norms.
It seems that in order to solve these problems, a number of additional acts should soon be adopted, in particular, a schedule for the implementation of the concept, as well as a document with target indicators that would allow monitoring the effectiveness of the measures taken. Without this, the concept will be exclusively framework in nature. When working on the regulatory conditions for the development of machine-readable law, it is necessary to pay special attention to preventing risks that may arise when new technologies are introduced into traditional legal processes.
It is important to determine in advance the areas and cases in which a legally significant decision cannot be made without human participation solely by artificial intelligence. For example, in the framework of criminal proceedings, the use of artificial intelligence technologies should be carried out with particular caution, given the special role of the judge in such proceedings and the possible negative consequences for a person in the event of an error.
At the same time, the introduction of mechanisms for automated decision-making in order to prevent administrative offenses seems to be more justified.
For example, many countries around the world, including Russia, have long been experienced in using cameras to automatically record traffic violations. Among the primary tasks of the state is the solution of issues related to the translation of the logic of the existing regulatory legal acts into a format perceived by artificial intelligence, as well as the formation of new standards for the creation of regulatory legal acts in a machine-readable form.
In this context, it will be important to mention the resolution adopted by the government in the middle of the year on new rules for the development and approval of departmental administrative regulations for the provision of public services to citizens and businesses. In accordance with it, traditional paper-based administrative regulations will be replaced by digital ones. The development of such documents will be carried out in the “designer of digital regulations” in the federal system FSIS “Federal Register of State and Municipal Services”. It contains special mechanisms of format-logical control, which will allow setting a unified structure for the formation of regulations, as well as reducing the number of legal and technical errors when they are developed in a machine-readable form. Digital regulations, in fact, are one of the first examples of machine-readable acts in the provision of public services in our country. Speaking about the development of normative acts, it is worth mentioning separately the procedure for their approval, which is quite bureaucratic. It is no secret that the legislator often does not keep pace with the changes taking place in various fields, including in the field of information technology. And the law on “digital sandboxes”, adopted at the end of January this year, was adopted, among other things, because of the need to ensure that businesses can quickly implement digital projects.
As a reminder, this law provided the possibility of establishing experimental legal regimes within which innovative technologies can be introduced even under regulatory constraints. At the same time, for a comprehensive solution to the issue of the speed of adoption of normative acts, it seems necessary to pay special attention to the creation of a unified automated system for their approval. Within its framework, a single working environment should be formed for all officials, in which it will be possible to create legally significant documents and coordinate them, as well as ensure their adoption in a machine-readable format.
Translation of legislation into this quality will help to increase the efficiency of work not only in the field of state regulation, but also, for example, in the field of advocacy and judicial activity. For example, lawyers and judges in the United States actively use digital assistants in their activities in order to minimize possible errors. For example, we can take one of the programs existing on the state market – Cara AI, which provides an opportunity for lawyers using artificial intelligence to organize a search for case cases, laws, analytical notes and other necessary documents.
The principle of the program is simple: a lawyer or judge uploads a brief description of the case on which he is working, and the program independently analyzes the legislative array and produces the most relevant results.
It seems that such digital assistants engaged in additional analytical research, if massively implemented in our country, will reduce the number of errors in the work of lawyers and judges. Undoubtedly, the effective translation of regulations into a machine-readable format will help improve the quality of legal activity, which, obviously, will also affect the pace of development of our country in the economy, which to a large extent depends on the quality of the work of legislators.