Amazon Prime Day (actually a day and a half) officially starts at 2 PM CT today (but some things are already on sale), so you may be tempted to finally take the plunge and add Amazon’s Alexa to your home environment. All of the Alexa units are about half their usual prices, starting at $30. Google has responded with price drops on its Google Home units, starting at $34.

So which, if either, should you buy? General wisdom is that Alexa is best for shopping (I have found it ‘not so easy’), and Google is best for information and music (yes, it is). Here’s an examination of both in some detail. (I have Google, Alexa and Siri all over my home and car and use them all a lot, so I’m a pretty good judge.)

One highly influential factor should be your general tech environment. If you have Amazon Prime and generally use Amazon Music stuff a lot, Alexa is not a bad choice. If you (and your home) are Android, Google is probably the best fit. If you are an Apple/Mac/iTunes person, you’ll find Siri superior in terms of music and especially security. One of the reasons Apple tends to lag the others a bit in terms of tech is their superior focus on keeping things secure.

Strictly in terms of personal assistants, Google is best, followed by Alexa and then Siri. Because I am generally an Apple guy, I find myself using Siri most, but I rely on Google for my morning briefing. My home automation is set up for all three, but again, I most often use Siri. All three continue to improve very quickly.

With Siri, your hardware is limited to your iPhone, iPad, Mac (with video baked in) and their HomePod speaker ($349). Google has several speaker options but for video you need to connect to your TV. Amazon has several speakers and two video options.

Regardless of which you may choose, now’s a great time to time to buy!

And now, on to the rest of AI!!

  • Post of the day, this from Michael Mills. Siri, Esq.—The AI Robots are (not) Coming. The clever title is misleading, the AI solutions ARE coming and they will take some jobs. The article is a good update on the state of AI in law.


  • Last week I posted about the major new AI releases by Thomson Reuters and LexisNexis. Here, from Artificial Lawyer is a good overview of the implications of these releases and related moves by their smaller, more agile, competitors. And here’s Bob Ambrogi’s in-depth look at Lexis Analytics.


  • From Hogan Lovells: Artificial intelligence and data analytics in fraud and corruption investigations. “This update explains how the process of gathering, sorting and evaluating enormous volumes of data has changed, and why skilled human intelligence is likely to remain a required component of an accurate analysis.”


  • Law Technology Today posted this interesting editorial about the evolution of legal service providers. “Regardless of where your firm is now—BigLaw or SmallLaw, OldLaw or NewLaw—if you are still around in 2050, it’s likely you will be practicing SmartLaw.”


  • Fasken is promoting it’s use of AI to better serve clients. “At Fasken, our Legal Innovation team understands that AI is about more than robots and autonomous driving. With AI tools, performance gets better over time as the technology learns and improves from experience. We’re embracing the disruption, taking new approaches and using the benefits from a number of tools to transform our legal services for our clients.” This post discusses a webinar on the subject, but I could not find a link.


  • From ABFJournal, “While some lawyers may be leery of or intimidated by artificial intelligence tools, a panel of experts has demystified the technology and described the ways in which it can expand the legal services market. Karim Guirguis and John Hartgen recap a recent American Bankruptcy Institute panel discussing the role of artificial intelligence in bankruptcy.”


  • Ganado Advocates took a leading role in drafting Malta’s blockchain legislation, making it one of the world’s most blockchain-friendly countries. Here’s an interview with one of their partners on the subject. “The purpose was to make Malta a blockchain hub, attracting a number of investments in the country. And, I mean, the aim of the regulation has already attracted lots of interest. As a law firm, we’ve been inundated with requests and have already been working on a number of transactions. And we anticipate that this will go on and progress even further now that the laws are in place.”


  • “Blockchain technology has the potential to significantly disrupt the U.S. real estate market. Vasiliki Yiannoulis of the law firm Withers, discusses how this new technology will impact the industry within the next few years.”


  • From K&L Gates: “AI systems are increasingly utilized to help streamline certain diagnosis, treatment, and administration procedures. In this episode, Ryan Severson discusses some of the key legal issues associated with AI and how the landscape is expected to change over the next few years.”


  • Mayer Brown Tech Talks, Episode 1: Staying Ahead of AI with Rebecca Eisner. 24-minute webinar here. It’s mainly an overview of AI generally, with some legal considerations near the end.


  • “POLITICO hosted a conversation on the role of government and its implications for AI growth in national public safety, privacy and civil rights. Watch the full video here to see how artificial intelligence is accelerating rapidly — from social media bots to facial recognition technology to driverless vehicles.”


  • From Jeffrey Catanzaro of UnitedLex: What junior lawyers need to know about artificial intelligence. “… AI and other associated technologies are creating huge opportunities – especially for younger lawyers – but it’s important for those who are newly qualified not only to recognise those opportunities but also to appreciate how the job is changing.”


  • Finally for today, here’s an interesting slant on legal tech: With A Defined Go-To-Market Strategy, Legal Tech Can Conquer The Industry. “The most glamorous figure in the legal profession used to be the trial lawyer. Now it’s the nerd.”