• Think “Legal” when you read this article about “A human touch.” “Despite the rise of automated financial advisers, Naureen Hassan, chief digital officer for wealth management at Morgan Stanley, said clients still want human interaction.”

The same principles presented here apply to the provision of legal services. I doubt that there’s anything lawyers do that won’t eventually be replaced by AI, but for the foreseeable future, Law will be a relationship business; the basic engagement process will be between people.


  • Still feeling threatened by AI? Then check out this piece‘s realistic projection of where we are headed in the short term as AI “augments” attorneys’ abilities rather than replaces the lawyer, much as using technology to see a patient’s bone structure enables the physician rather than replacing her.


  • Meanwhile, in the financial community, we have LinkedIn’s Financial Services/Fintech survey of more than 1,000 professionals from the broader FI/Fintech space. This summary reports that finance professionals may underestimate AI’s impact on the client’s current relationship with their financial institutions, but also underestimate AI’s potential to create new sorts of relationships/services. The analogy to legal services is clear. The article also presents interesting statistics regarding the financial services industry’s investments in AI and the number of jobs potentially impacted.


1. More Personalized Marketing

2. To Collect Data

3. The Creation Of Business Content

4. Can You Help, Siri?

5. To Improve The Performance Of Their Team


  • This article from the Harvard Business Review doesn’t have much new to say, but it is an excellent primer on AI and explanation of the current state of things. I did enjoy their rebuttal of those who quibble that AI still makes mistakes:

“While all these risks are very real, the appropriate benchmark is not perfection but the best available alternative.”

And I expect I’ll be using this quote in some of my presentations: “Over the next decade, AI won’t replace managers, but managers who use AI will replace those who don’t.”


  • My lead story Monday was the very wide coverage received by Elon Musk’s remarks made at a Governors Conference over the weekend. The reverberations continue as several governors have expressed intention to do something about it, and several AI experts have, to varying degrees, disagreed with Musk. For instance:

“While there needs to be an open discussion about the societal impacts of AI technology, much of Mr. Musk’s oft-repeated concerns seem to focus on the rather far-fetched super-intelligence take-over scenarios,” Arizona State University computer scientist Subbarao Kambhampati told Inverse. “Mr. Musk’s megaphone seems to be rather unnecessarily distorting the public debate, and that is quite unfortunate.”


  • I have argued here several times that the greatest threat of AI over the next few decades will be the exacerbation of our wealth inequality crisis. This article reinforces that position with data from several solid sources.

“All of these insights indicate that we must seriously begin to consider the structure of our future economy, and begin to develop approaches to address the challenges that will arise from the deepening of the divide between the rich and the poor.”

More interesting discussion of the impact of AI on human rights here.


  • Finally, and on a higher plane, the Vatican just held a conference about AI and Ethics as part of its Courtyard of the Gentiles series, which brings Catholic and non-Catholic leaders together to discuss issues affecting both the Church and the modern world. This summary is very much worth a read. It even reinforces the recurrent theme that at least for now, law is a relationship business: “Several said that AI is pushing us to see that, essentially, humans are unique in their desire for relationships with other persons and the capacity to sustain them.”
  • Mergers & Acquisitions. As previously reported here, several major law firms are using Luminance AI-powered tools in their M&A deals. Now, “(d)ue diligence artificial intelligence software provider Luminance and data collaboration platform HighQ, both London-based companies, recently announced a product integration that will allow users to pipeline data from HighQ into Luminance for processing.” Details here.


  • If you’re wondering whether to get on board with such technologies, here’s a very basic explanation by Ken Grady of why your firm should be using AI in its M&A work.


  • This article supports my position that one should not start your firm’s AI discussion by looking for a way to start using AI. Rather, one should take a look at the firm’s Strategic Plan or Marketing Plan, and consider AI’s various manifestations as possible aids in accomplishing your objectives. Start with the need, then search for the right tools.

And I’ll use that article to reinforce another of my favorite themes, “it’s all about the data.”

“(Data) isn’t valuable for AI if it is not formatted and prepared correctly. Several attendees stressed the need for “data refineries” to clean that data.” “If your data is not cleansed, you cannot use AI.”


  • Here’s an outsider’s brief take on how AI may impact the legal profession.


  • Yesterday I reported that the US Senate will begin hearings about AI this fall. So will the UK’s Parliament.


  • Speaking of governments, this from Veritone: “Veritone Government solutions represent the fastest and most effective way for public-sector organizations to leverage the power of AI, with services and applications specifically designed for government needs. With Veritone Government, agencies can achieve new levels of efficiency, improved public transparency, and unprecedented levels of collaboration and cooperation among each other and with private businesses.” This might be especially useful when receiving a huge data dump in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.


  • My Roomba is smarter than the latest AI! (Well, probably not. But at least it knows not to fall down stairs.)


  • Here are the results of an interesting survey and forecast re AI by Transparency Market Research (TMR). Among the highlights:

(T)he global market for artificial intelligence is estimated to post an impressive 36.1% CAGR between 2016 and 2024, rising to a valuation of US$3,061.35 bn by the end of 2024 from US$126.14 bn in 2015.

North America was the major revenue contributor in 2015…. (T)he region is expected to retain its leadership through 2024.

On the other hand, the Middle East and Africa is anticipated to exhibit a remarkable CAGR of 38.2% during the forecast period, which is higher than any other region.

“Digital assistance” is estimated to be the most promising segment in terms of revenue during the review period. The proliferation of portable computing devices such as tablets and smartphones is the primary factor propelling the growth of the segment.


  • The Chinese Government seems to agree about the growth: In an opinion piece published Wednesday in the People’s Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China, an artificial intelligence (AI) specialist said “AI will have a huge influence on society and the international community.”


  • And as long as we’re talking about growth, this article about the potential impact of AI on the environment is very interesting at face value (mainly positive potential for AI, with some risks), but I also found interesting this graph showing “mentions of ‘artificial intelligence’ and related words in 10-K filings of S&P companies, from 2011 to 2016.” Quite an increase! (Seems there’s some corporate buzz about this AI stuff.)


  • The debate never ends as to whether AI will be a net creator or destroyer of jobs (untestable prognostication is so much fun!), and in which segments of the economy when. This editorial from the National Review puts a few interesting spins on that discussion.


  • Check out the headline from this story: “IBM revenue worse than expected as artificial intelligence fails to make up for slowdown in hardware and software.” Wow. How far have we come that IBM is now looking to AI to shore up poor performance from its traditional core businesses.


  • Check this out for High Performance Coach Darryl Cross’ take on AI. (AI on your team?) I’ll be discussing/debating the subject with Darryl on his podcast on July 27. Click here to sign up.


  • I’m not sure whether this is directly useful, but this list of AI tools available today for use by businesses is certainly impressive!


  • Is this the New The Face of Artificial Intelligence? Nothing of real substance here, but, on a Wednesday morning, I really enjoyed this writer’s snarky style.
  • Marketers: The Voice Search Era. Your clients are moving from typed queries on websites to voice search. This shift to convenience has been facilitated by :

Better voice recognition technology

Microphones everywhere

Increased processing power

SEO will adapt by becoming much more context sensitive. Your clients will expect you to enable voice search on your website (especially mobile), and you should be very sensitive to SEO as you adjust your site’s design to better respond to these voice searches.


  • Of course this “Voice Search Era” relates to the proliferation of Chatbots throughout the legal space including A2J leader DoNotPay. This article provides a good discussion of some of the concerns regarding this technology.

“There’s no question that unmet legal needs are prompting a great deal of innovation, but with any innovation comes critical scrutiny. Even though questions remain about chatbots’ methods, tools like DoNotPay seem poised to take on a huge role in serving at least some of those unmet needs.”


  • If anyone’s B2B marketing strategy should be heavy on content marketing, it’s law firms’. But most struggle with formally incorporating a content strategy into their business plans. We’re not alone, as this survey from the Content Marketing Institute shows.


  • “BakerHostetler Adds Privacy and Internet Law Pioneer Laura Jehl to the Firm’s Globally Ranked Privacy and Data Protection Team.”


WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), chairman of the Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, will convene a hearing on Wednesday, November 30, 2016, at 2:30 p.m. on “The Dawn of Artificial Intelligence.” The hearing will conduct a broad overview of the state of artificial intelligence, including policy implications and effects on commerce.

The White House commissioned this report way back in 2016, and last week I mentioned that an AI bill has been drafted by Senator Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.


On a related note: if you do business in the EU (or UK), the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Act is making things more difficult. ““With eye-watering fines in the offing, and with guidance from regulators still unclear in places, firms need to be adopting a risk management and gap analysis approach, prioritising action on the areas where they have most to gain from action or most to lose from inaction.” (There have been several articles on this subject already this week. For instance, GDPR: time to explain your AI.)


  • Truly evil AI marketing 😉 : “Gravyty, the leader in artificial intelligence (AI) fundraising software, announced the release of ‘First Draft,’ the first AI application designed to proactively and automatically craft personalized, donor-centric emails at the most opportune times on behalf of frontline fundraisers at nonprofit organizations.”


  • Quantum Computing. Is the speed of data processing not frightening enough yet? “Google and a growing number of other companies think (quantum computing) will transform computing by processing some important tasks millions of times faster. SoftBank Group Corp.’s giant new Vision fund is scouting for investments in this area, and IBM and Microsoft Corp. have been working on it for years, along with startup D-Wave Systems Inc.”
  • This article presents four solid strategies for improving customer/client engagement. They may be a bit of a stretch for a law firm, but none are far out of reach and each should be considered.

Offer an omni-channel experience.

Understand the customer’s changing needs via AI.

Get specific with machine learning.

Make digital communications interactive.



  • press release states, “Alphaserve Technologies, a global provider of managed IT, cloud and cybersecurity services, has introduced a version of its popular artificial intelligence consulting service for the legal market. The company offers data science as a service to improve law firm business processes, leveraging its own intellectual property including ITIL-based processes, a proprietary tool and more than 200 experts around the globe.



  • There must have been something in the water this past weekend as there were more negative AI storied published than usual (there are always a few). Some lamented the possibility of complexity getting out of control (unintended consequences, misuse, wrong priorities, malicious computers) to the detriment of mankind (back to the 2001 and Terminator scenarios), a couple suggested that things may not progress nearly as fast as most have predicted (no “singularity” any time soon), and by far most noteworthy, speaking at the US National Governors Association summer meeting in Providence Rhode Island, Elon Musk went negative again, this time suggested some pretty dire consequences if we don’t get serious about AI regulation (hear! hear!). (His remarks were quoted hundreds of times in media from India to China to NYC to Silicon Valley.)

Musk: “A.I. is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization.” “In a way that car accidents, airplane crashes, faulty drugs or bad food were not,” he added. “They were harmful to a set of individuals … but not harmful to society as a whole. A.I. is a fundamental existential risk for human civilization, and I don’t think people fully appreciate that.”

This article includes a link to his whole talk, beginning at the 43-minutes mark.

On a positive note from one of this weekend’s pessimistic stories, if you’re a plumber, your job is probably safe for the foreseeable future.

[Editorial: I still believe the greatest threat posed by AI in the next couple of decades is the exacerbation of the unequal distribution of wealth.]

  • And finally, something to start the week off right for the total AI nerd/geek: this collection of cheat sheets for AI, Neural Networks, Machine Learning, Deep Learning & Big Data.
  • For a two-day immersion in legal AI with many of the best minds in the business, don’t miss the College of Law Practice Management’s “2017 Futures Conference.” This year it’s about AI’s importance in all aspects of the business and practice of law. “Running with the Machines: AI in the Practice of Law.” Atlanta, October 26-27.


  • Access to Justice: I’ve mentioned DoNotPay a couple of times as a leading example of AI facilitating A2J. Here’s an update:

Over two years ago, Joshua Browder, now a junior at Stanford University, created a chatbot that could contest parking tickets in New York City and London. By June of 2016, DoNotPay had successfully contested 160,000 parking tickets — a 64 percent success rate — and earlier this year, Browder added capabilities to assist asylum seekers in the US, UK and Canada. Now, the bot is able to assist with over 1,000 different legal issues in all 50 states and across the UK.


  • Attorneys need to be good speakers, but it does not come naturally to many. I have hired expensive coaches, sent them through Toastmasters and used video feedback techniques, all with mixed success. Now, thanks to AI, “there’s an app for that.”

“[No one is] born a public speaker, but anyone can become one,” says Dhamani. “Anyone can go out there and speak like Obama. We wanted to bring that to everyone in the world with Orai – [a kind of] Toastmasters on your smartphone.” “Orai launched on Apple’s App Store in March and has had more than 30,000 downloads so far. Users complete different challenges, such as an elevator pitch (explaining your business idea in 90 seconds)….”


  • Historically, one of the most egregious wastes of a law firm’s (and indirectly, clients’) money has been random acts of sponsorship. (“My spouse is on the planning committee for the garden club, so sign us up for a $5000 sponsorship this year.” Or, “my biggest client just asked me for a $1000 sponsorship of his daughter’s volleyball team. Do it.”) It drives marketing professionals crazy to receive these directives, then a few months later be asked to prove the ROI of their budget. Since 2009, this spending has been cut back significantly at many firms, but it’s still a problem. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a scientific way to report back on the ROI of these “investments.” Here’s a step in that direction. It seems to be mature, or nearly so, for the corporate world, so here’s hoping it may eventually be applicable to Big Law.

“…enable both companies’ customers to leverage AI to better collect, analyze, and assess the value of sponsorships and branded integrations present in broadcast and digital media.”


  • I keep beating the drum that other governments are getting very serious about AI (regulation, investment, education, etc.), while the US does very little. Here’s a step in the right direction. Thanks to Senator Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., for drafting forward-looking legislation that aims to establish a select committee of experts to advise agencies across the US government on the economic impact of federal artificial intelligence.


  • Though this article is largely focused on K-12 and undergrad education, I expect its basic premises apply to law school, to the detriment of students. My interpretation/adaptation of one of its premises is that today’s education system “is focused on teaching discipline and cultivating sameness of each individual. “(O)ld habits must be broken for young generations to be brought up ready for a new world.” “(A)rtificial intelligence and other revolutionary notions threaten to undermine the ancient schooling principles. It makes educators, who lack proper acquaintance with AI and fear for their jobs, biased against us. And thus, we find ourselves at a stalemate: the changes Guardian talks about cannot happen, when the main players in the field are actively opposed to the stated changes.”


  • Every week or two I try to post an up-to-date primer on AI for those new to the area or looking for a refresher. Here’s today’s history of AI and brief explanation of its fundamentals.


Have a great weekend!

(A version of this material originally appeared in the July 2017 issue of ALM’s “Marketing the Law Firm.”)

In this five-part series I will:

  1. explain and distinguish “Business Intelligence” (BI) and “Competitive Intelligence” (CI), and show how both should be employed in optimal:
  2. brand development,
  3. pricing of services,
  4. client feedback programs, and
  5. strategic planning.

This installment will set the stage with some background and definitions. Continue Reading Better Decisions with Business Intelligence and Competitive Intelligence — Part One: Terms and Context

  • This initiative by dozens of GCs to determine “which in-house and law firm management approaches work best” could be an excellent application of AI. As described here, “the data set has already grown to represent thousands of matters; as the project continues, it will encompass millions of data points allowing for a detailed analysis of many critical questions.” If data collection continues over time, as law firms and corporate counsel change behaviors and measure results, sophisticated longitudinal analysis (e.g., “AI”) could be applied to tease out cause-and-effect relationships. Could be very cool.

See also The GC Thought Leaders ExperimentAn Open Letter From 25 General Counsel

  • Does AI have more in common with Yo-Yo Ma or a lawyer? Here, Ken Grady, without ever mentioning the terms, presents an interesting take on the much discussed distinction between “Specialized AI” (a.k.a., specific, narrow, weak, vertical) and “General AI” (a.k.a., strong, super) arguing that the role of the lawyer is much more general than specialized. To me, this translates into the near term versus longer term threat to the attorney’s various roles.

[This is just a nit, but I take issue with Mr. Grady’s assertion that “(t)here is no area which receives more AI hype than law.” Lordy, no — just spend an hour or two perusing the discussion (hype) going on about AI in medicine/pharmaceuticals.]

For a bit more fine distinctions than just “general” and “specialized” AI, check out this brief post.


  • Here’s (link to full response at bottom) the European Commission’s initial response to its mandate to lead the way on liability rules and ethical standards for Artificial Intelligence. And here’s a bit of analysis thereof.

And here’s a bit of a flip on that; instead of regulating AI, in the UK, progress is being made on using AI to enforce financial regulations: “The Financial Conduct Authority, an independent U.K. financial regulatory body, is looking into the possible use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning tools to enforce regulatory compliance.”


  • If you think AI is poised to rock the legal world, just check out the agenda of Day Two of MB 2017 (MB=”Mobile Beat”) for what’s going on in retail marketing. Wow.

“Artificial intelligence is affecting the entire marketing ecosystem. Every brand, marketer, product manager and innovator must be ready to harness the disruptive impact AI is having as it pushes forward intelligent assistants, bots, smart voice and predictive analytics and more. We’ll be exploring it all over two intensive days at MB 2017.”


  • All “deal lawyers” should be honing their AI expertise. I will not do this every day as AI deals could easily be their own blog, but just today I found these stories about AI transactions:

Loup VenturesToyota Research Institute, Skycure, SenseTime, Xero, Qloo, FPT Software, CDx Diagnostics, Google

  • The Singapore Academy of Law (SAL) has announced the launch of a two- year pilot programme called “Future Law Innovation Programme (FLIP) to help law firms cope with the disruption in law practices caused by advances in artificial intelligence (AI) technology. AI was mentioned by the Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law, at the Singapore Ministry of Law Commencement Opening Ceremony.



  • This blog post by Cushman Wakefield goes into some depth as to how “Artificial Intelligence has already begun to reshape the way work is carried out in commercial real estate: chat bots are changing the way real estate services are delivered; recommendation engines are revolutionising the way we find property and automated – and more efficient – ways of tracking and analysing mountains of unstructured data are unlocking new opportunities for value.”



  • Wunderman (part of WPP), today announced at Microsoft Inspire the launch of a new division, Wunderman AI Services, to provide enterprise level artificial intelligence solutions for marketers. The new division will develop and deploy enterprise grade artificial intelligence solutions for marketers across customer care, acquisition, product development and customer retention. Wunderman AI Services will be powered by Microsoft Azure and takes advantage of Cortana Intelligence Suite.
  • Even beyond spotting your friends on Facebook and Google, facial recognition has been getting a LOT of press recently. For instance, the latest iPhone 8 rumors suggest that the fingerprint reader may be replaced by facial recognition. This article discusses its use in eDiscovery to, as with so many manifestations of AI, make things better, faster and cheaper.


  • Chatbots hold a lot of potential to affordably enhance customer/client experience, but this author suggests that some may be moving to this technology before they’re ready.


  • Some big players are investing not just to have AI take over mundane work, but to generally make life better for organics (i.e., people). For instance, yesterday Google announced “PAIR”  (the People + AI Research initiative), looking at the relationship between humans and artificial intelligence in the hopes of making the latter more useful to the former. More details here and here.


  • Other initiatives have been launched to help regulation catch up to AI tech and to generally make sure that AI is behaving appropriately. Among them, the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Fund, helmed by Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society and the MIT Media Lab. The fund was created in part by the Omidyar Fund, Knight Foundation, and LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman. The fund announced its first round of funding today, delivering $7.6 million to a variety of organizations around the world.

Last year Google partnered with Amazon, Facebook, IBM and Microsoft to create a new not-for-profit called the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society. The $27 million fund for artificial intelligence in the public interest was first announced in early January. This article discusses that development and other related investments. The nonprofit‘s primary missions include researching AI, creating guidelines in developing new AI tech and advancing the public’s understanding of AI.

  • Here’s an interesting essay about AI and the future of legal education. “The long game is in doing and teaching what robots really can’t do, or in managing the robots.”


  • Shanghai is testing an artificial intelligence system that helps police officers, prosecutors and judges check the validity of evidence in criminal cases, as part of an effort to prevent wrongful convictions.Over the past month, the system has reviewed 60 cases – including homicides, burglaries and telefraud – and correctly identified 48 flaws in evidence, the Shanghai High People’s Court said on Monday. Ye Qing, president of East China University of Political Science and Law in Shanghai, said that AI can be applied in many ways in the judicial field to help reduce judges’ enormous workload and improve the quality of their work. (Better, faster, cheaper.)


  • Bloomberg Law has relaunched the “Corporate Practice Center” featuring compliance, governance and legal operations. Dewey B Strategic mentions that this will include AI.



  • Finally, might this principle be an improvement on Asimov’s “Three Laws of Robotics?”