An intelligent agent that was first developed to respond to questions related to Australian tax law has won a grant from the D3 Digital Challenge “Keeping Women Safe”, a South Australian program designed to find solutions from the digital world to support women who are experiencing or at risk of experiencing violence.
At a time when 90 per cent of women are stalked using technology, technology can provide answers, says Ailira’s developer, specialist taxation lawyer Adrian Cartland.
Ailira, for Artificially Intelligent Legal Information Research Assistant, uses a process of scaled machine learning to gather and analyse facts about a woman’s situation, quickly returning information that can be crucial to legal process and safety.
“We can teach Ailira to empower women, their personal support networks and service providers with up-to-date, relevant answers about domestic violence law and related laws,” Mr Cartland says. “Ailira is like Siri [the iPhone artificial intelligence], but with a focused and deep understanding of the law.”
In the last 12 months, just under half a million Australian women reported they had experienced physical or sexual violence, as recorded by the Department of Families, Housing and Community Affairs. Ailira can provide legal information that is consistent, affordable and accessible to both para-professionals and to the public, helping to free up the already stretched resources of family support services.
“The initial fact gathering period is crucial to outcomes but it is also time consuming and can be emotionally draining,” Mr Cartland says. “Advice across agencies may be inconsistent, whereas Ailira will present consistent information and analysis, and connect SAPOL, frontline services, legal services and other agencies.”
Ailira can be taught to provide information on:
- Whether a criminal offence is likely, and connect directly to SAPOL
- What actions are available to protect from emotional, financial and psychological abuse, including seeking an Intervention Order
- Sexual assault, migration law, Federal laws, family law, and interstate laws.
Ailira could carry out tasks such as completing a Domestic Violence Risk Assessment Form, collating the facts into a Family Safety Meeting Referral Form, or pre-completing an Intervention Order.
Using its linguistic capabilities, Ailira could indirectly challenge social attitudes that perpetuate violence against women.
“Alira, as a robot, treats everyone with perfect equality,” Mr Cartland explains. “You chat with Ailira as you would a friend, using instant messaging. She understands real language in context.”
As an example, Ailira can tell the difference between "I feel guilty" and "He pleaded guilty", the first AI in the world with this level of human-like comprehension.
Cartland Law is working in collaboration with Debra Spizzo, a Domestic Violence lawyer from Victim Support Services, who is providing information on South Australia’s Domestic Violence laws, and Sarah Hill, a counsellor from the Domestic Violence and Aboriginal Family Violence Gateway Service who is assisting in teaching Ailira to converse empathetically with women.
In January 2016 Ailira will be rolled out in Beta to provide automated tax research, with the aim to have millions of Ailira interactions each year, both nationally and internationally.
“If Ailira can address both taxation and domestic violence, she can be applied to almost all areas of law,” Mr Cartland said. “Her potential reach is exponential.”
In the last six months, Cartland Law has created a new job every 6-8 weeks, with Ailira set to drive further growth.
“Adelaide is the perfect hub for the high end professional skills we need, including an abundant supply of lawyers and law graduates to teach Ailira the laws of Australia and other countries,” Mr Cartland said.
“We have emotionally intelligent professionals and counsellors to enable Ailira to converse naturally and understand the needs of humans, and we have a Government that is directly encouraging innovation.
“Ailira can be applied to other areas of law, assisting with scalable and affordable access to justice for everyone.”
About the D3 Challenge
Women and children have the right to feel safe and live without fear of violence. Perpetrators of violence are increasingly using technology to facilitate their abuse of women. It’s time to turn this around and use technology in a positive way that aids women to be happy, healthy and safe in their environment.
This D3 Digital Challenge aims to use technology to enable police, government services and support networks better assist victims of domestic violence and to challenge social attitudes that perpetuate violence against women.
Leila HendersonP: 0414697071
Adrian CartlandP: +61 403 873 498