• Benelux law firm Stibbe has posted a piece on “the impact of new technologies on our society and on how lawyers should be part of the innovation.” It includes discussion of: use of blockchain in trials, AI in the practice of law, and the need to teach lawyers about tech. Here’s a notable excerpt: “Lawyers need to do some really fundamental thinking about how these technologies will impact us as a society, and as lawyers.” “Private practice lawyers are well-placed to get involved because that is where the innovation first lands, as a file on a lawyer’s desk.”

 

  • This article argues that AI will disrupt the legal space in India, both the ‘bar’ (lawyers) and the ‘bench’ (judges). The arguments are applicable across boundaries, but with varying degrees of emphasis (e.g., India’s Supreme Court is extraordinarily backed up). The basic AI functions that will be relevant are: legal research, predictive analytics and visualization, and law office management. The authors caution lawyers to assess the situation and prepare for the “AI age.” Chatbots are mentioned, which leads me to…

 

  • A lot of what’s being forecast for 2018 centers on Chatbots (e.g., this from the WSJthis from Inc. and this from the UAE’s The National). This is a good update on consumer voice assistants (“The average number of connected devices (outside the usual suspects of phones, computers and laptops) has increased to 4.4 per person.” Wow.). According to Venture Beat, “This year, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Amazon all leaned into messaging and conversation. In 2018, (they) will make conversational AI the main gateway to communicate with the customer.” Here’s a case study of a family’s relationship with Alexa. And here, Business World predicts that “voice-powered assistants” will be one of the top three AI advances in 2018.

 

  • Here’s McKinsey’s take on AI today and in the future. Bottom line: we’re early in AI’s evolution; companies should prepare their workforces for the entry of AI (including hiring data science talent); and it’s all about the data, so start getting yours in order.

 

  • Here are PwCs predictions for 2018’s top AI trends. It’s all pretty behind-the-scenes technical stuff. The one most relevant to law is “Explainable AI: understanding the black box.” “Explainable AI is a movement to develop machine learning techniques that produce more explainable models while maintaining prediction accuracy.”

 

  • More prognostications for 2018 law and tech are in this podcast from Law.com in which Ben Hancock interviews “The Recorder” bureau chief, Ross Todd. The discussion focuses on Uber vs. Waymo, cryptocurrencies, surveillance and Google vs. Oracle.

 

  • Just to keep things in perspective, “a Stanford-led team has launched the first index to track the state of artificial intelligence and measure technological progress in the same way the GDP and the S&P 500 index take the pulse of the U.S. economy and stock market.” As of today, ““AI has made truly amazing strides in the past decade, but computers still can’t exhibit the common sense or the general intelligence of even a 5-year-old.”

 

  • And finally, I thought I had a pretty good idea of the vast range of applications of AI, but better/safer bricklaying had not come to mind.