• 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!