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Professors Dan Linna, left, and Kristian Hammond of Northwestern University.

Kristian Hammond isn’t a lawyer. He just sees reasons to worry about them.

Hammond, a professor at Northwestern University with a Ph.D. in computer science from Yale, specializes in a field of artificial intelligence that happens to intersect with the law: natural language generation.

That field, Hammond predicts, will lead to considerable breakthroughs in legal technology within his lifetime. He says there’s “no doubt” a soup-to-nuts legal research product will emerge that crafts arguments for lawyers. More troubling, though, are prospects such as parole decisions made by algorithms populated by biased, historical data. Or research that identifies judges’ prejudices—which can be done today, he says—so lawyers can lean into them.

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