The Future of Argumentation Technology,
As guided by the needs of the law

Abstract: Information technology is significantly changing the legal profession. Still, legal information technology is not yet creating radically new levels of value, such as a significant decrease in costs of legal services, or a radical increase of access to justice. Why not?

 In the talk, it will be argued that, for legal information technology to be disruptive, innovative information technology must be developed that is well-adapted to the central information processing mechanism of the law: argumentation. It will be argued that the development of argumentation technology can help overcome the long-standing technological hurdle of how to make logical and probabilistic tools mutually supportive, instead of competitors.

 As an application area, we discuss the domain of forensic science, where the rise of DNA evidence has shown how hard it is to safely combine probabilistic and logical reasoning. An integrated formal perspective on reasoning with criminal evidence shows how logical reasoning with arguments and scenarios can be embedded in standard probability theory. The perspective can be the basis of argumentation technology that combines the strengths of logical and probabilistic tools.

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