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12 highlights from our year

Using artificial intelligence for good

Last year, as the COVID-19 pandemic raged, many people found themselves out of work and facing tremendous uncertainty. For many of these workers, particularly those in “gig economy” jobs, their legal rights were unclear.

To help them, the Conflict Analytics Lab—a partnership led by Smith and Queen’s Faculty of Law—created MyOpenCourt, a web-based platform designed to inform workers of their rights and options.

MyOpenCourt features two free and simple-to-use tools that harness artificial intelligence and data science technologies to provide legal guidance. The “Am I an employee or contractor?” tool helps determine the likelihood that a work arrangement was an employment relationship or that of a contractor through a fast, anonymous questionnaire. Workers who believe they had been wrongfully dismissed can use the “How much severance am I entitled to?” tool to calculate reasonable notice for dismissal.

Powerful AI technology lies behind both tools, which were developed by students and researchers at Smith, Queen’s Law, Queen’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and university partners in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. MyOpenCourt has been one of several tools that the Conflict Analytics Lab has been developing to harness AI in order to make the law more accessible and equitable for everyone.