Jerrold Soh, who is one of the founders of Lex Quanta. He is currently studying at the National University of Singapore, while also managing the company at the same time. Jerrold helps to bring out a simulator prototype that helps to ease the work of lawyers in division of matrimonial assets. Below is a more in-depth interview of his story and also his thoughts about AI!
(Jerrold Soh has also been featured in The Strait Time for his contribution to the simulator that sets to be one of the biggest driving changes to the law industry in Singapore.)
Qn: The Beginning, what happened before the company was founded?
The first thing that made us formed into a group was really just because we shared a common interest in technology. When we heard about the rise of AI 3 years ago, when we were in year 2 or year 3, we wanted to know how AI is going to impact the legal industry. We were both concerned and interested in knowing what it can do, especially seeing that all of us would be entering the industry in the future.
At first, we worked with this goal in a student-interest group. Long story short, this eventually lead to us to present an idea about a technology that could be used in the law department to the Ministry of Law. They appreciated the idea and wanted someone to implement the idea as a test drive, and then bringing them into the market.
After a long discussion among my group members, we finally decided to do this ourselves. So we form Lex Quanta and continued to research and implement our ideas into prototypes to make them into a reality.
Qn: Did your family support you along the way?
At first, I actually didn’t tell my parents about any of this (*chuckle). So what I told them is that I am interested in this technology department, where we presented to the Ministry of Law etc as part of student-interest projects. They actually were fine with it, as we were actually doing something that caught the interest of the Ministry. But my parents are actually very supportive of me, in fact, they encouraged me to do something different. They are more concerned about whether what I did would contribute to the society.
Qn: How did you balance your time between studies and managing the company?
It is all about efficiency, I try to be very efficient when I’m studying. So I try to focus on those hours of studying while also finding ways to learn things fast and effectively. I would watch the lectures videos when I’m back home to revise them each time. Then, I also make use of technologies around me such as software of apps which I find useful. For example, there is this NUS app that is developed that allows for us to download lecture notes automatically to your devices for easy viewing, and it’s even better because it helps to categorise your notes as well. All of these helped to save me hours that could be used to spend on researching AI.
Also, I tried to attend those lectures that are related to my field and also the AI field. This would allow me to apply what I learnt from class to my work almost immediately.
Qn: What do you foresee in the future for the AI, and are you For or Against its rise?
I am not really worried about its rise, as I do not think that AI can completely replace human’s job, at least not in another few decades. First of all, I do not foresee the advancement of AI as seen in The Matrix or Terminator where AI is able to automate and replace jobs completely. What I believe is that AI does help to make our life and job simpler. So a task that requires hours of manual work can be done much faster, and us human can concentrate on other parts of the job that is more beneficial. In other words, AI helps to increase our productivity without replacing jobs at all.
In this way, I am neither Against or For AI, as I believe it’s just a matter of us adapting to the modern world and also in accordance with the technological advancements. Or to be more precise, I am actually siding a bit more to the For side, as I believe AI is just another extension of what the tools that we humans use in our everyday world. Perhaps when the AI has advanced a bit too much that we humans can’t control then, will I be worried about its impact on human society. But that will probably happen only after few decades.
We are grateful that Jerrold Soh is willing to spend his precious time with us to make this interview possible. Controller Companies hopes that he is able to achieve his dream and also all the best to his current and future endeavours!