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Benjamin Alarie, CEO of Blue J

6 Questions with Benjamin Alarie, CEO of Blue J

It's our pleasure to catch up with Benjamin Alarie, who is the founder and CEO of Blue J and co-author of The Legal Singularity: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Law Radically Better.

1. What inspired you to pursue a career in AI, and how did you get started in the field?

I have been a tax law professor at the University of Toronto since 2004, so a career in AI was an unusual development in 2015 when it materialized. I was inspired to pursue a career in AI because I recognized the potential for artificial intelligence and machine learning to revolutionize the legal field, particularly in the area of legal prediction.

I got started by co-founding Blue J with two of my law professor colleagues, leveraging our combined expertise in law and empirical analysis to develop AI-driven solutions for the tax law domain.

2. Can you give us an overview of how you started Blue J?

I started Blue J by engaging in conversations with my law professor colleagues, Albert Yoon and Anthony Niblett, who share similar academic interests in empirical analysis and the legal field.

Recognizing the potential of AI and machine learning to transform law, especially in tax, we decided to combine our expertise and founded Blue J. Our goal was to develop AI-driven solutions that could revolutionize the way legal professionals approach tax analysis and advice through legal prediction.

3. What are some of the most exciting and challenging aspects of working in AI today?

Some of the most exciting aspects of working in AI today include the rapid advancements in technology, the ability to solve complex problems, and the potential to revolutionize various industries, including law.

I believe that in the coming years we will see the emergence of a “legal singularity” and have written a book with Abdi Aidid that is now available for pre-order, “The Legal Singularity: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Law Radically Better”.

4. How do you see AI evolving in the coming years, and what role do you think it will play in society?

As we talk about in “The Legal Singularity,” one area where AI could bring about a transformative impact is in the field of law. The concept of a "legal singularity," envisions a future where AI dramatically improves the legal system, making it more efficient, accessible, and accurate.

In this future, AI will not only augment the work of legal professionals but also empower individuals to navigate the legal system with greater ease and confidence. As a result, the role of AI in society will expand, contributing to the overall betterment of various aspects of our lives.

5. What AI tools have you tried and been impressed with recently?

ChatGPT is my go-to tool. It’s helping me with all kinds of tasks—writing emails, initial drafts of academic reference letters, and playing with ideas for academic papers.

6. What can we expect to see coming out of Blue J in the near future?

Blue J is going to be launching a new service that can answer basically any tax research question based on a huge corpus of tax law that we have painstakingly assembled and trained. It’s in beta now and we expect to be launching Ask Blue J in the near future.