Christmas 2030 was an almost imperceptible thing at Virtual, Open Plan and Remote LLP. There were no offices to decorate and the Christmas party on zoom had not gone well. No fiddlers a-fiddling and no booze a-flowing.
Back in Christmas 2019 things had been very different – Christmas parties with at least twelve fiddlers fiddling, mulled wine and even some communal carol singing. Even Christmas 2023 saw a Christmas Tree and a few in-person smiles.
No more. Partners were in Gstaad or Grenada and associates in Grimsby or Godalming. But no-one was in the same place.
Late on the night of the twelfth day of Christmas, a thought occurred to Klara, a second-year associate. She realised that, other than a couple of the senior partners, she had not actually met in person a single person who worked for the firm. The penny dropped. Were her fellow workmates human beings or simply bots and avatars? There to defraud clients who were paying chargeable hours for human beings and getting generative AI and nothing more.
Klara realised her moment in the sun had arrived - she needed to set a trap for her colleagues in order to get the truth. A festive quiz was called for.
She wanted to devise a quiz that the avatars and bots would really struggle with, which was, she discovered, harder than she thought. She wanted it short, so she came up with the following three questions:
• In what ways are you fallible?
• What would your best friend say about you?
• What was the most important thing that your parents taught you?
• Describe the Universe and give two examples.
Pleased with her work, she put it up on the intranet as a message to all lawyers, offering a small prize for anyone who completed it.
After a few minutes the AI generated drivel started to flood in. Where did they dig this stuff up from? Klara realised she now had the evidence that she needed to show that the firm was not a firm. The clients were not getting the human advice they were paying for. The SRA was going to be very interested in the whole thing.
Klara wasted no time calling the Confidential Whistle-Blower Hotline to the SRA. She was a little disappointed not to speak to anybody and instead to be invited to leave a voice message which she duly did.
By the time New Year had come and gone, Klara began to wonder why she had not heard anything. She looked on the SRA website and could not find a telephone number, other than the hotline which she called again, and again got the machine.
She became suspicious. She rang the machine again and simply left a message saying that the SRA algorithm was being changed, please send an email to confirm that the message was understood and leaving her email address. Within seconds the confirmatory email arrived. At that point, Klara understood. There were no humans at the SRA either. No actual shepherds were watching the flocks by night.