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Language, Law, Tech: A Contentious Love Triangle

Megan Ma

Have you been thinking about the correlation between language, technology and law? In this episode of Are You A Robot?, Megan Ma discusses whether we should use natural or programming languages when creating legal contracts, and how much language affects the interpretation of law, especially when it comes to designing technology.

Following from her Are You A Robot? interview, it is clear that Megan believes that technology is changing language in law. Whilst natural language is vital in creating contracts, it also has many many meanings, leading to confusion and ambiguity to those from a non-legal background.

Rather than using natural language, Megan has been researching how formal language in law could provide clarity and transparency. Formal language includes mathematical and data programming. She believes that natural language should always play a part in drafting legal contracts. Therefore, she looks to a more hybrid approach, using both natural and formal language, to provide clarity too. But, what does this mean for those from non-legal backgrounds?

“Having these tools gives the promise that more people could understand and not be blocked from expert language.”

Concise language lifts the gap between lawyers and non-lawyers, removing the block of legal jargon. Yet, Megan is aware that there might be ethical issues when implementing these technologies. Some big companies might not want to use these programming systems, as they don’t want their clients to understand the small text in their terms and conditions.

Should we use traditional, natural language when writing legal contacts? Or a mix of both? Join the conversation in our Slack community and let us know what you think!

What are your thoughts? Join our Slack channel and join the conversation!