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Considerations for AI-Assisted Legislative Drafting: Part One

The idea of robots drafting legislation may evoke images from a science fiction plot of the 1980s. There is little doubt that artificial intelligence (AI) has transcended its status as a futuristic concept, permeating numerous facets of our societies and influencing businesses across industries. However, expectations that AI will be drafting the law are premature and indeed, unlikely to be fully realized.

From supporting research processes to providing insight into areas for possible revision, AI has exciting potential to support the legislative process. However, with its capabilities come multifaceted considerations including trust, bias, data privacy and ethics.

This article series delves into the foremost topics in this space, aiming to equip legislative staff with a toolbox to navigate its complexities, mitigate risk and safeguard democratic principles.

Applied with care and consideration for legislative processes, AI can enhance the working lives of drafting attorneys, driving efficiency, accuracy, and consistency.

By automating certain aspects of the process and providing data-driven insights, AI can assist in the navigation of complex legal frameworks and ensure precision in legislative texts. Importantly however, we can consider this to be ‘augmented intelligence’, assisting experts in doing their jobs. 

In this two-part article, we overview key considerations for AI-assisted drafting. 

1. Security

Implement robust security measures to safeguard sensitive legislative information and prevent unauthorized access or tampering.

Given the sensitive nature of legislative content, ensuring data privacy and confidentiality is crucial. Steps taken should observe best practices regarding data protection, including strict access controls and encryption protocols, at the same time carrying out thorough risk assessments to identify any potential vulnerabilities.

Regular audits and monitoring can help mitigate risks, ensuring that AI-assisted drafting processes are secure and that unauthorized access, data breaches, or other malicious activities are prevented. 

By prioritizing security, legislatures can confidently leverage AI to enhance drafting efficiency without compromising the integrity of legislative content. 

Applied with care and consideration for legislative processes, AI can enhance the working lives of drafting attorneys, driving efficiency, accuracy, and consistency.

2. Accuracy

AI-assisted tools should ensure high standards of accuracy in interpreting legislative language to minimize errors.

Systems must be capable of understanding and interpreting legal language and context with precision to assist in the generation of reliable, coherent drafts. Inaccuracies in drafting can lead to legal ambiguities, unintended consequences, and potential challenges in enforcement of the legislation.  

To maintain high standards of accuracy, AI models should be trained using comprehensive and up-to-date legal datasets. They should also be regularly updated to reflect any changes in laws and regulations. 

Crucially, human oversight remains essential in the drafting process to verify drafts created with AI assistance and correct any discrepancies. This is particularly important because, as it currently stands, there is no known robust solution to the hallucination problem with Large Language Models (LLMs).

Continuous testing and validation of AI models can further enhance accuracy, allowing staff to trust the system’s outputs. 

3. Interpretation and Context

Systems that leverage AI need to understand the nuances of legal language and the context to assist with the generation of accurate and contextually appropriate legislative drafts.

Legislative language is often complex, nuanced, and heavily dependent on context, making it essential for AI systems to fully understand the intent and implications of proposed laws. AI models must be extensively trained to understand the subtle distinctions in legal terminology and to recognize the broader context in which laws operate. This includes interpreting how statutes relate to one another and how a new law might impact existing legislation.  

AI should also be equipped to handle regional variations and jurisdiction-specific legal nuances. Additionally, LLMs should be kept up to date with any new or revised laws. 

4. Transparency

AI-support systems should provide transparency in their decision-making processes, allowing users to understand how AI-assisted drafts are generated and revise as necessary.

Legislatures and legal professionals must have clear insights into how AI systems operate, including the data sources, algorithms, and decision-making processes that underpin AI-assisted drafts. This level of transparency ensures trust and accountability in the drafting process, allowing users to understand the rationale behind any AI outputs. It also facilitates the identification and correction of potential biases, inaccuracies, or other issues within the system.  

Legislatures should prioritize the use of AI tools that provide explainability features, such as offering justifications for specific drafting decisions or highlighting key data points that influenced the AI’s output. Human oversight is also key here to ensure that the cited source exists to avoid any potential hallucination issues.  

5. Legal and Ethical Compliance

AI-supported systems must comply with relevant legal and ethical standards governing legislative processes, data privacy, and intellectual property rights.

AI-assisted tools must adhere to applicable laws and regulations, including data privacy, intellectual property rights, and cybersecurity standards. Compliance with legal frameworks is essential to protect sensitive legislative content and uphold the integrity of the drafting process. 

From an ethical standpoint, legislative management systems that incorporate AI should be designed to support principles of fairness, transparency, and accountability. This includes addressing potential biases in AI algorithms, ensuring decisions are explainable, and allowing for human oversight to maintain control over AI-assisted drafts. Additionally, legislative management technology must be designed with consideration to the ethical implications of AI use on constituents and stakeholders, such as ensuring fair treatment and avoiding unintended consequences in laws. 

Ongoing monitoring and audits of AI-supported systems can help identify and mitigate legal and ethical risks. By making legal and ethical compliance a priority, legislative management technology can leverage AI responsibly, maintaining public trust further and confidence in the legislative process while safeguarding the interests of all parties involved. 

Systems that utilize AI need to understand the nuances of legal language and the context to help generate accurate and contextually appropriate legislative drafts. ​

Opportunities for Legislative Drafting

AI-assisted drafting tools offer opportunities for enhancing efficiency, accuracy, and productivity in the legislative process. As legislatures navigate the complexities of AI-assisted drafting, maintaining a balance between technological innovation and respecting the unique traditions of each state’s lawmaking process will be key to crafting high-quality and effective legislation.  

Read part two to explore further considerations you should keep in mind when it comes to using AI-supported tools with legislative drafting.