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Prof. Rostam J NEUWIRTH, Department of Global Legal Studies, University of Macau, China

Rostam J NEUWIRTH教授,全球法律研究系,门大学,中

Research Area: Global Law


Title:Legal Education in the Time of “Artificial Intelligence” and other Oxymora



Today, the future role of the lawyer and the legal profession is often seen being threatened by the advent and rapid development of technologies generally referred to as “artificial intelligence” (AI). In the future, AI, it is argued, may even replace major tasks handled by the legal profession or the lawyer as a whole. However, the concept of “artificial intelligence” was also qualified as an oxymoron, it is to say a word “in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction”. This is because intelligence was, by nature, understood as human and opposed to artificial.

At the same time, it cannot be denied that recent decades have shown an unprecedented pace of scientific and technological innovation, which has driven economic globalisation and scientific progress. Moreover, these technologies have inaugurated an era, called the “Anthropocene”, that seems to provide vast opportunities but at the same time also put the entire planet and its human inhabitants under the threat of extinction. In this context, various additional disruptive technologies, such as AI, big data, nanotechnology or synthetic biology are seen converging, which together threaten to further undermine the present foundation of the law and its constructive role in the design of the future.

The increasing convergence and resulting complexity can be linked to the rise in oxymora and paradoxes, as apparently contradictory concepts, which may indicate the possibility of a cognitive revolution that may affect legal concepts, as well as legal practice and legal education in the future. Based on selected examples of oxymora, the present paper will discuss the implications of this rise of contradictory concepts in the realm of law and life, with a view of identifying the major challenges for legal education in particular and its broader ramifications for education in general.