More Lawyers? Really?

We’re all guilty of looking at the world through our own lenses of experience. The person barely making ends meet while working 3 jobs in a thankless economy to support a family is not going to see things the same as a doctor or lawyer, as an example, particularly after they’ve done their internships.

The people who get quoted the most aren’t the majority. In fact, they’re usually a minority that live in a bubble, immune to most problems on the planet, and because of the fact that the bubble is sacred to them, they almost never venture outside.

CEOs live in a different world, blissfully unaware of the day to day issues of people who don’t live their lives. For some reason, these people are often glamorized yet they provide hints of their own biases at times.

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, recently demonstrated one. When talking about societal upheaval and jobs, he had an odd go-to but one that a CEO would be very comfortable with.


“…“I think it’ll touch everything we do,” Pichai said of A.I. in an interview with The Verge’s Nilay Patel published Friday. “I do think there are big societal labor market disruptions that will happen.”

But the tech chief thinks that A.I. could also make some jobs better, if it’s done right. He used the example of the legal profession, which some believe will be the most disrupted by A.I., and said that even with technological developments, the need for some skills and services will not be eliminated altogether.  

“So, A.I. will make the profession better in certain ways, might have some unintended consequences, but I’m willing to almost bet 10 years from now, maybe there are more lawyers.”…

Sundar Pichai, Google’s Sundar Pichai thinks A.I. will spur ‘big societal labor market disruptions’ but also make professions better, Prarthana Prakash, Fortune, May 12th 2023.

I’m not going to put words into his mouth, there’s no need. These are questions he’s likely primed himself for that will minimize the societal upheaval it will cause. He’s the CEO of Google. In 2022, Sundar Pichai made $226 million as CEO of Google, mainly in stock options. He’s vested in the success of Google, and the layoffs in January were… unfortunate for him, I suppose.

And we need more lawyers? Really? Are they planning to make things that more complicated and expensive? Or does he picture a future where lawyers will charge less money?

Given the nature of how disruptive some of the technologies being dubbed “AI” by the hype cycle are, I might be more interested to hear from collective bargaining organizations than a CEO of Google when it comes to such disruption.

His perspective is implicitly biased, he’s vested in a corporation whose technology interests are not necessarily in line with those of most of it’s users. He’s not a bad person, I’m not saying that. I’m saying what he is quoted as saying seems cavalier.

What I am saying is that someone who says, “We’ll have more lawyers” like it’s a good thing might not have thought things through beyond his bubble. Take it for what it’s worth.

There are a lot of people whose ways of life are at stake in all of this, and I’m not sure that they all want to be lawyers. I hope not, anyway. Justice is blind, they say.


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