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Of Artificial Intelligence and Legal Reasoning

Cass R. Sunstein

Harvard Law School

November 2001

University of Chicago Law School Roundtable, Vol. 8, 2001

Can computers, or artificial intelligence, reason by analogy? This essay urges that they cannot, because they are unable to engage in the crucial task of identifying the normative principle that links or separates cases. Current claims, about the ability of artificial intelligence to reason analogically, rest on an inadequate picture of what legal reasoning actually is. For the most part, artificial intelligence now operates as a kind of advanced version of LEXIS, offering research assistance rather than analogical reasoning. But this is a claim about current technology, not about inevitable limitations of artificial intelligence; things might change in the future.

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Date posted: November 21, 2001  

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Sunstein, Cass R., Of Artificial Intelligence and Legal Reasoning (November 2001). University of Chicago Law School Roundtable, Vol. 8, 2001. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=289789 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.289789

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Cass R. Sunstein (Contact Author)
Harvard Law School ( email )
1575 Massachusetts Ave
Areeda Hall 225
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-2291 (Phone)
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