Monday, August 29, 2022

Professor Benjamin Alarie

Professor Benjamin Alarie (Photo by Angela Lewis)

As an expert in taxation law, University of Toronto Professor Benjamin Alarie, the Osler Chair in Business Law at U of T’s Faculty of Law, set on a path several years ago to change how legal research is done.

In 2015, he co-founded a legal tech startup with U of T Law professors Anthony Niblett and Albert Yoon. Blue J’s software draws upon artificial intelligence to provide instant and comprehensive answers in complex areas of tax, labour, and employment law.

“Artificial intelligence is not going to take your job – professionals who use artificial intelligence will replace professionals who don't use artificial intelligence,” says Alarie in the trailer to the Canadian documentary, The A.I. Taxman.

The film will have its big screen premiere at the Isabel Bader Theatre on September 29. The event is co-hosted by Blue J, the filmmakers, UDocs, and the University of Toronto’s Future of Law Lab at the Faculty of Law.

UDocs – in partnership with Hot Docs, the largest documentary film festival in North America – produces “edutainment media content to advance the rule of law, professional ethics, social justice, and corporate social responsibility”.

The film is part of UDocs’ Continuing Professional Education (CPE) program and is available through its online platform. The purpose of the film is to provide legal and accounting professionals with a better understanding of the fundamentals of artificial intelligence, including ethics, security of information, productivity and efficiency.

“The whole idea behind [Blue J software] is to use machine learning to give taxpayers certainty that they're not overpaying their taxes, and to give the tax authority clear boundaries where the amount of tax is owed,” says Alarie, who was named earlier this year, one of 50 emerging leaders reinventing how Canada does business by The Globe and Mail.

“We think the right way to run a tax system is to provide very clear, transparent rules, to provide access to justice.”

The screening will be followed by a keynote address by Osler tax litigation partner, the Hon. Marshall Rothstein, C.C., Q.C., a retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, and an expert panel discussion with Bruce Ball, CPA Canada, vice president, Taxation; Susie Cooke, global tax & legal, KPMG, Canada; Heather Evans, executive director and CEO, Canadian Tax Foundation; and Maxime Guénette, assistant commissioner, chief service officer & chief data officer, Service, Innovation and Integration branch of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

The panel will be moderated Abdi Aidid, a newly appointed assistant professor in U of T’s Faculty of Law, who served for years as Blue J’s vice president of legal research.

“This discussion is a chance to hear how some of the top minds in the tax world are thinking about these massive technological changes,” says Aidid. “If you’re nervous, hopeful or even just curious about AI, this is a discussion that’s well worth attending.”

Register to attend the AI Taxman

Story republished at U of T News