• In this article, Burr Forman associate E. Travis Ramsey, discusses the coming relevance of AI to appellate advocacy, including: (1) compiling the appellate record; (2) written advocacy; and (3) oral advocacy. He concludes with: (reasonable, in my opinion) “AI will play a role in appellate advocacy, and it will begin by supplementing the work of human lawyers,” and (wishful, in my opinion) “(p)erhaps the many variables involved in appellate advocacy will make it (unlike chess or Go or poker) something that will forever remain beyond technological emulation.” “If humans ever create true artificial intelligence that can replace humans as appellate advocates, it will occur in that far-off future time known only as ‘someday.'”


  • From the UK’s Legal Week, this 20-minute video: How artificial intelligence is revolutionising the way law firms and clients work together. Bird & Bird CEO David Kerr and BT Legal COO Chris Fowler discuss legal tech generally and AI in particular.

Paraphrasing some of Kerr’s observations: Today, there’s a lot of hype, and very interesting work being done. There will be more collaboration between law firms and their clients. In the future (about 5 years from now) the due diligence in a deal will essentially be done by AI, and it will keep getting better; American law firms and GCs are much more prepared than those in the UK to believe in the power of systems to fix problems, and to invest in it.

Among Fowler’s observations (again, paraphrasing): Today, there’s a lot of hype, we’re an early stage market; Change management is not easy. This will be a good thing for law firm-client relationships: Law firms are taking tech companies into their premises, and this is a good thing; There will be more tech-enabled services.


  • Joe Patrice and guest host Kathryn Rubino talk to Jeff Ton of Bluelock in this half hour Above the Law “Thinking Like a Lawyer” podcast titled, “2018 Legal Technology Predictions.” After some talk about current events and other tech (including blockchain and cybersecurity), they begin to discuss AI at about the 20-minute mark. It’s pretty superficial.


  • Yesterday I posted an article from the NYT about the need for AI to be able to explain why it makes the decisions it does. (It’s legally required by regulations such as the EU’s pending GDPR.) Here’s a more in-depth look at the subject from the folks at MIT and Harvard including what can be and is being done about it. The full paper “Accountability of AI Under the Law: The Role of Explanation” is available here.

They conclude: “we recommend that for the present, AI systems can and should be held to a similar standard of explanation as humans currently are; in the future we may wish to hold an AI to a different standard.”


  • Mark Cuban is not the doomsayer Musk is, but he sees AI as a major disruptive force, “(a)ll these things have happened that have changed how we do business, changed how we lived our lives, changed everything, right, the internet. But what we’re going to see with artificial intelligence dwarfs all of that.”

And he warns that AI will be a vital international race: “And so, Vladimir Putin says the winner in AI controls the world. China puts together a future plan saying whoever dominates in AI — and they’re subsidizing Tencent, Alibaba (BABA), et cetera, right?” Cuban said. “It is a race. We cut our Office of Technology and Science to one person who was an assistant to Peter Thiel. That’s where we stand.” “Because if we don’t do it, and China or Russia win those wars, we’re SOL. We’re out of luck, right?”


  • According to www.gov.uk, “the MOD prepares to host the two-day Artificial Intelligence Hackathon this week to explore the opportunities that ‘AI’ can provide to the defence of the UK. Funded by the MOD’s £800m Innovation Fund, the Hackathon will bring top representatives from the MOD, defence industry, SMEs and academia together to brainstorm ideas on how AI can be applied across businesses, the military and civil society. Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin added: “This Hackathon is yet another example of how defence is getting together with academia and industry to ensure the UK remains a world leader in research, collaboration, and security.”


  • And you were worried about your privacy: “Dubai Police will soon be able to monitor you inside your car through an artificial intelligence machine that will be installed on the officer’s vehicle. The invention is meant to catch motorists who are breaking the road traffic rules, for instance using their mobile phone while driving, eating or drinking, driving recklessly or to catch wanted vehicles.” Video and details here.


  • This post discusses China’s race to catch and pass the US in military AI. It’s the first time I’ve seen a “military singularity” directly mentioned. Elsa Kania at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) reported that, “…some PLA (China’s People’s Liberation Army) thinkers anticipate the approach of a ‘singularity’ on the battlefield, where humans can no longer keep pace with the speed and tempo of machine-led decisions during combat….” Of course, this inevitable progression has been alluded to many times.

Meanwhile, two former NATO commanders weighed in yesterday with these comments about evolving tech-based war: “Technology is changing dramatically, in the field of artificial intelligence, big data. How big data can be harvested ultimately to train the artificial intelligence algorithms to do what you want them to do, including in military capacity, which can give you speed for decision-making and action we have not seen before. It’s a new horizon of military capability which is called Hyper War. The distance between the decision and the action is now measured in seconds, instead of days or weeks as it was before.”

(T)he Russians are weaponising artificial intelligence, and so are the Chinese. It’s important for us to understand what capabilities artificial intelligence can bring. For example, it has the capacity of doing enormous good in terms of intelligence collection and analysis. It can vastly speed up command and control.” “…(P)eople typically ask, whether fully autonomous systems will be released ultimately to take human life. And that’s a debate we’re going to have to have. I can tell you there are people who have the capabilities….”


  • Finally, this encouraging (??) piece from The Download, “A new paper published (login required) on Academia.edu, titled ‘Message to Any Future AI: There are several instrumental reasons why exterminating humanity is not in your interest,’ is a piece written for a future all-powerful AI with the goal of, well, convincing it not to kill us all.”