As AI systems become more widespread and versatile, they will undoubtedly have a major impact on our workforce and economy. On a macro scale–that is, across the labor market as a whole–whether AI’s impact will be positive or negative is very much an open debate. The same is true of the impact of AI on many specific occupations. Roughly half of jobs in the United States are “vulnerable” to automation, according to a 2013 study. But whether AI systems will prove “good” or “bad” for workers in a specific profession will depend in large part on whether AI serves as complement to human workers or acts as a replacement for them.
In the legal profession, for instance, the rise of predictive coding and improved scan-and-search software has given law firms the option of automating some of the most time-consuming (and therefore expensive) aspects of identifying relevant documents during litigation, a.k.a. document review. Document review has long been bread-and-butter work for young lawyers, especially at law firms that handle complex litigation cases, which can require sifting through and poring over thousands or even millions of pages of documents.