Identities and Technology: AI and the Disruption of Patent Attorneys' Practices and Identities

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Conference Proceeding
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AI and machine learning have been considered as the most disruptive force in the once exclusive province of human professionals (Susskind and Susskind 2015). Our study examines the introduction of AI for improving patent drafting in an Australian professional service firm (PSF) that specializes in Intellectual Property (IP). This project is part of a larger research project to study the digital transformation of the firm. In this empirical paper, we examine the data deploying an interpretive discursive perspective (Heracleous 2004) to produce a rich account of ‘what is actually going on’ from an attorney’s perspective. Drawing on observations supplemented by interview data with patent attorneys working in a large Australian Intellectual property (IP) firm, we conceptualize talk of ‘feelings’ as an identity work strategy that enables attorneys to: (1) feel relevant and (2) cope with the disruption to their practices by AI in the patent drafting process.
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