Apple’s annual developer conference, WWDC, kicks off at 9 AM PT today. There will certainly be consumer-related AI news, perhaps B2B and even legal. I’ll cover it tomorrow. The conference will be streamed live on the WWDC website and mobile app. WWDC runs June 4-8, 2018, in San José, USA. Here are some guesses as to what will be unveiled.


  • According to the ABA Journal, “ABA Techshow 2018 went beyond the usual focus on legal technology and provided sessions on leadership, team building and mindfulness.” “Those technologies took center stage as multiple panelists and speakers talked in March about the ways lawyers can augment their practices by utilizing artificial intelligence, blockchain, virtual reality and the ‘internet of things’.”

Interesting. I’ve always thought the ABA’s mission was to protect lawyers and their industry from change/progress.


  • Heart-ificial Intelligence: “John C Havens (author of Heartifical Intelligence: Embracing our Humanity to Maximize Machines and executive director of the IEEE Global initiative on Ethics and Autonomous Intelligent Systems.) has a hopeful vision for the future but it comes with a word of caution. He believes that the cause of humanity’s demise will not be because of killer robots but rather due to our stubborn fixation on money. Speaking to Lawyers Weekly ahead of a major talk he was due to give in Sydney yesterday, Mr Havens argued that to avoid this fate, more companies should adopt the concept of the triple bottom line — a notion that values people, the planet and profit equally — and measure quarterly performance to those three standards.”


  • From Reed Smith: “Trust, accountability and a predictable legal environment will be required to ensure the EU remains innovative and competitive in the AI sphere, while retaining a commitment to fundamental rights and safety. The Commission proposes to establish a European AI Alliance by July 2018, bringing together relevant stakeholders to draft guidelines on AI ethics by the end of 2018. These guidelines will address issues such as algorithmic transparency, security, consumer protection and the embedding of key values into AI solutions.”


  • White & Case has posted Embracing AI, “A review of the legal and policy considerations that will shape the development of artificial intelligence.” (It’s just an expression of the need for regulation.)


  • From FindLaw: How to Handle a Discovery Request Targeting A.I., “While the discovery rules generally allow for liberal discovery, when it comes to eDiscovery, and a robot or A.I. would clearly fall under that hub, courts are less inclined to allow unrestricted access to an adversary’s system, especially if there are no reasons to believe they’ve been hiding anything. It’s almost always going to be a question of proportionality.”


  • Thompson Mackey, a risk management consultant at EPIC Insurance Brokers and Consultants has these thoughts about Artificial Intelligence and Professional Liability: “[C]laims of malpractice are common, so underwriting data is vast and pricing models are well-tested. Insurers are able to get comfortable with the risk, since they have decades of data upon which to base their premiums. In effect, they are confident in how much they will pay out for every dollar of premium they take in. The same cannot be said for malpractice caused by an AI.”


  • From Artificial Lawyer:

–  “Relativity has set itself the strategic objective of providing its platform to the broader legal tech world, including legal AI review companies focused on matters such as M&A and real estate, to create a new ecosystem for lawyers focused on doc review and analysis that goes far beyond eDiscovery.” Details here.

“The Accord Project consortium of legal tech companies, law firms and standards-setting organisations has released its first working prototype for Ergoa new domain specific language for smart legal contracts. The software has also been made available to anyone who wants to use it and can be downloaded from Github.” Details here. (FYI, Github is about to be acquired by Microsoft.)


  • Press release: “ayfie, a leading provider of search and text analytics solutions, is pleased to announce leading Norwegian law firm, BAHR, as its newest partner. Aimed at managing BAHR’s vast domain knowledge, ayfie will combine and leverage different technologies from its portfolio to get BAHR’s lawyers the information they need. All documents will now be automatically classified for efficient recall and BAHR can easily search for internal competencies, clauses, terms and documents.”


  • Legal Text Analytics: “The special issue of the Artificial Intelligence and Law journal on Legal Text Analytics (Vol 26 Issue 2, June 2018) is now available online on the Springer website. The papers in this issue exemplify recent developments in the use of language technology, machine learning, and data science to provide new insights into legal problem solving and analysis of legal texts. Topics include automated patent landscaping, the geometry and semantics of networks of authoritative legal texts, and legal text segmentation and classification. The reports demonstrate the growing application of Deep Learning and other state-of-the-art machine learning techniques to a range of legal problems. They also signify a growing appreciation that explainability, in the broader context of explainable AI, should remain one of the key objectives for such techniques.”


  • Here’s a very interesting thought piece by Mark A. Cohen, Esq., The Golden Age of The Legal Entrepreneur — Why Now and Why It Matters. My favorite paragraph:

“Lawyers crafted language, procedures, and an insular, homogeneous culture to differentiate themselves from the rest of society. This supported a “lawyer/’non-lawyer’” worldview and preserved their hegemony over the delivery of legal services. It also perpetuated the myth of lawyer exceptionalism. Law firm structural and economic models were predicated on lawyers performing all ‘legal’ work with a labor intensive, ‘no stone unturned’ approach regardless of client objective or value. Budgets, price predictability, and knowledge management were not a part of the law firm modus operandi, although their business clients operated that way for decades.”


  • And here’s an interesting (non-legal) post about AI and empathy. Artificial intelligence is being trained to have empathy. Should we be worried? “The move towards empathetic gestures in our technology comes as voice-activated devices are growing in popularity. The coming generation of products, driven by voice, will rely more on inference, emotion and trust, according to Ms Krettek, whose lab aims to bring “deep humanity to deep learning”. Even, possibly, a mutual vulnerability.”

Note, Neil deGrasse Tyson once remarked, “As long as we don’t program emotions into robots, there’s no reason to fear them taking over the world.”