• If even you’re casually interested in AI, check out this list of the biggest AI milestones achieved in 2018. E.g., from Microsoft: “Hitting human parity in a machine translation task is a dream that all of us have had. We just didn’t realize we’d be able to hit it so soon.”


  • And this isn’t specifically legal-related, but it’s interesting: CES 2019 Trends To Watch – 5 Predictions Everyone Should Read.


  • Even if you’re not particularly interested in China or the US-China AI rivalry, this article is a good look at cutting edge innovation in AI. AI Domination: The Zero-Sum Game Between The U.S. and China.


  • In this post from Legal IT Insider, “12 IT leaders tell us about their achievements, challenges and priorities for the year ahead.” There was quite a bit of AI in 2018 and in their forecasts. For instance, from Clive Knott of Howard Kennedy, “Our most significant development has been the first real use of AI technology in the business, which has significantly reduced the time taken to analyse source documents and produce specific reports.


  • And here’s LegalWeek with seven of the same: Cutting through the hype: predictions for innovation in law in 2019. “The Big Four broke cover and started to talk more openly about their ambitions in the legal sector.”


  • From MyShingle.com, here are some interesting thoughts re the Tax Implications of Productizing Legal Services. “…(W)hen lawyers convert traditional legal services into hard-copy books or digital products or apps or chatbots because many states subject digital products and/or a software-as-a-service  (e.g., assessment tools like this product ) to state sales taxes.”


  • Here’s a good explanation of what’s going on (and coming ) in use of crypto-technologies in real estateBlockchain’s real estate break.


  • In this interesting post, “Gopi K, SVP at Infosys, explores the future of blockchain in 2019.” He presents his four areas of expected greatest growth and explains the state of regulatory affairs in several key countries. This post is very relevant to law.


Law Firm Posts/Content

  • “OpenText™ announced that leading international law firm Pillsbury … will be the first law firm to deploy OpenText Magellan, OpenText’s AI-enabled analytics platform.” More here.


  • From “…Dentons TMT Bites, the newsletter of Dentons’ Italian Intellectual Property & Technology group. This month we will deal with Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) from IP to privacy and contracts.” Ten December posts are included here, along with a 1-minute video intro.


  • Also from Dentons (Saverio Cavalcanti and Giangiacomo Olivi), “With this article, we will address some legal issues arising from contracts featuring AI-based services/products.” It’s a pretty deep dive.




  • From Shearman & Sterling, here’s the longest title of a post I have seen in a while: District Of New Jersey Denies Motion To Dismiss Class Action Against Blockchain-Based Company, Finding That Plaintiff Adequately Pled Defendants’ Initial Coin Offering Constituted The Offer And Sale Of Unregistered Securities.
  • The data protection laws described in this post from Barnes & Thornburg are relevant to AI and blockchain. California’s New Data Protection Laws are Coming … but Colorado’s law is Already Here. “If you are a business that maintains, owns, or licenses computerized data that includes PI about Colorado residents, this new law applies to you.”


  • Speaking of personal data, Jones Day just publishedSingapore: PDPC Issues Discussion Paper On Artificial Intelligence And Personal Data. The discussion paper was published by Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Commission (“PDPC”) on June 4.


  • This short paper by Richard Suskind explains his idea of a mind-set called ‘outcome-thinking’. “Nor do taxpayers want tax accountants. They want their relevant financial information sent to the authorities in compliant form. … Patients don’t want psychotherapists. Roughly speaking, they want peace of mind. Litigants don’t want courts. They want their disputes resolved fairly and with finality.”


  • Word of this acquisition certainly spread fast — I’ve heard it mentioned twice already today. Elevate Acquires LexPredict, Expanding Capabilities in Artificial Intelligence and Data Science.

Meanwhile, Artificial Lawyer reports that, “Elevate has begun to refer to itself as a ‘law company’, rather than an ALSP (i.e. an Alternative Legal Services Provider).” President, John Croft said, “I think the only difference between the two (Elevate and a firm such as Slaughter & May) is that they are a law firm and we are a law company.” “We might provide different legal services, or we might deliver the same legal services in different ways (or we may deliver exactly the same legal services in exactly the same ways!), but we both provide legal services.”


  • Holland & Knight’s Norma Krayem just published her take on the FTC’s 7th consumer protection hearing, this one focused on the use of big data and AI. “(T)he FTC has indicated an ongoing interest in these issues as well. Certainly, cybersecurity and privacy issues underpin the concerns along with broader consumer protection issues with the use of Big Data, AI and other tools.” She outlines the subject the FTC will cover.


  • Trey Hanbury of Hogan Lovells published Why the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence will reinvent network connectivity. It’s a pretty deep dive into all sorts of connectivity and their relation to each other. He discussed infrastructure required, and the FCC’s role in all aspects.


  • Artificial Lawyer posted: “US law firm Orrick has today announced a new startup venture fund from which it will make investments in promising legal tech companies globally. The firm intends to create a strategic relationship with each portfolio company, they said, with Orrick typically acting as a beta customer, while making an investment in the range of $250,000. Orrick expects to be investing alongside well-known lead financial investors.”


  • Also from Artificial LawyerLegal AI Co. Diligen Integrates with NetDocuments. “The integration, available globally today, allows customers to ‘simply and securely summarise and analyse legal documents using Diligen’s AI and machine learning tools’ for matters such as contract review. The result means that documents can be analysed without leaving the secure NetDocuments ecosystem.”




  • From CBS News: “Cyberattacks targeting the 2018 midterm election aren’t just relying on tested tactics like phishing attacks, social media influence campaigns, and ransomware targeting critical infrastructure — they’re also harnessing technology in new and ever more threatening ways. Cybersecurity experts are concerned that emerging technology like artificial intelligence and automation powered by big data and the Internet of Things is helping hackers attack election systems faster than officials can keep up.” Frightening story here.


  • Speaking of Cybersecurity, here’s a summary by Heidi Alexander of last week’s College of Law Practice Management Futures Conference that focused on the subject. “Over and over, speakers described cybersecurity as a moving target owing to the constantly evolving nature of cyberthreats. The first panel aptly quoted computer security expert Bruce Schneier: ‘You can’t defend. You can’t prevent. The only thing you can do is detect and respond.’ And here’s some coverage by Nicole Black.


  • “Oliver Duchesne, Client Operations Associate at Priori, sits down with Richard Susskind to discuss the future of law, technology and the evolving relationship between the two.” “One illustration (of the change coming to the legal world) is in the area of online courts, which is the subject of my next book. They weren’t really on anyone’s radar in 2013. However, I’m now aware of twenty or so jurisdictions around the world that are taking them seriously. Fifteen years from now, our courts, a fundamental legal institution, will be changed beyond recognition because physically congregating in a courtroom will be a rarity, particularly for lower value claims.” Here‘s the interview.


  • Here‘s an interesting and engaging interview 45-minute with Joshua Fireman, Ron Friedmann and Tom Baldwin, partners at Fireman & Company: “Join us as we discuss with them the changes in the legal industry, particularly challenges and opportunities for knowledge management programs. They review the evolution of KM from 1.0 to 2.0 to 3.0, from a cost center to a revenue driver, and from being useful to being critical. They also give advice for those looking to enter the profession or to develop their skills.” (Don’t let the low-quality audio production deter you.)


  • From CooleyAlert: European Patent Office Gives Guidance on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. “In order to receive a European patent for an invention, the invention needs to be novel, inventive and susceptible of industrial application. As part of meeting these requirements, the claimed subject-matter needs to have a technical character as a whole. The new guidance helps to assess whether inventions relating to artificial intelligence have the necessary technical character.”


  • Brief: Advocates Call For New US Federal Authority On Artificial Intelligence. “Public Knowledge, a Washington, DC advocacy group, today released a paper calling for the formation of a new federal government authority to develop expertise and capacity on artificial intelligence (AI), to be able to effectively regulate and govern these technologies in the future.” More here.


  • In this story about the move to the Cloud, the legal industry is cited as an example: “The Legal industry is an example of one not moving quite as fast, but there’s still a huge number of start-ups or Software-as-a-Service providers that are offering really unique solutions in the legal industry,…” “Whether they’re trying to just target the individual to say you don’t need to get a lawyer, or a solicitor; what you really need to do for your estate plan is just go through this wizard online and pay us £20. That’s disruptive to a traditional law firm. So even in an industry slow to adopt the cloud, I know that there are active pressures in the market that are going to change the way that lawyers interact with technology, and they way they interact with their clients. They’re going to have to really be thoughtful about how they work their way through this…”


  • From MacLean’s: “Your mall map sees the expression on your face. It knows how you feel. Creeped out yet?” “…(N)owhere in the mall does it say there are all-but-hidden cameras that are able to use facial-recognition technology on unsuspecting shoppers. As shoppers go about their day, buying everything from shoes to books, most are unaware of the latest technology their mall may be using to gather data on them—be it their age, their gender or even their mood.” Story here.


  • Press release: “Consilio, a global leader in eDiscovery, document review, risk management, and legal consulting services, has announced it has acquired DiscoverReady, a premier eDiscovery, document review, and compliance solutions provider. The combined company will operate more than 70 offices, review centers, and data centers around the world in 11 countries. The company’s global operations will continue to serve investigation, litigation, and compliance matters of all sizes and complexities, anywhere in the world.”


  • Press release: Search Acumen: Legal proptech will “hit warp speed” within five years. “(With) much-hyped technologies like artificial intelligence and blockchain becoming firmly established within property processes. Legal professionals will increasingly rely on property data visualisations and insights derived from millions of data points, analysed in seconds, to replace traditional search reports which take weeks to source.”


  • This, from Foley: Artificial Intelligence now being used to predict the Next Big Earthquake! (Somewhat interesting little post, but I’m not sure why Foley posted it.)


  • In NewLaw Journal, “Sophie Gould reports on how in-house lawyers are adopting & adapting advances in legal technology.” Several interesting case studies are cited as are some recent stats.


  • IPKat postedAuctioning Art(ificial Intelligence): The IP implications of Edmond de Belamy. More about that story and the IP implications of AI-generated art here.



  • This, from Artificial Lawyer: OpenLaw Launches Blockchain-Based IP Ownership System. “…(T)o that end, smart contract pioneer, OpenLaw, has just launched a blockchain-based system for helping artists securely control and profit from their IP, which will no doubt be of interest to many lawyers, not just the ones who do the art collecting for their firms.”


  • Here’s the latest from K&L Gates’ blockchain energy blog: Blockchain Energizer – Volume 37. Five interesting stories are covered.


  • Coding Abilities Becoming Valuable to Lawyers as Blockchain Tech Develops. “Opportunities for lawyers with a firm grasp of technology are most robust in areas related to compliance or incident response. Hands-on experience with computer programming and coding could become more valuable to attorneys as legal blockchain technologies develop over the next five years.” Story here.
  • LexisNexis’ Lex Machina “announced a major new expansion that provides analysis of insurance litigation.” Details from Artificial Lawyer here.


  • Also from Artificial Lawyer: “Canada-based legal AI pioneer, Kira Systems, has completed its SOC2 Type II reporting certification to help remove any fears customers may have over data security.”


  • This piece from The National Law Review reminds lawyers that it is their duty to keep up with technologies such as AI. “Comment 3 to the ABA Model Rule 5.3 was amended in 2012 to take into account situations where it is necessary for attorneys to rely on vendors. “When using such services outside the firm, a lawyer must make reasonable efforts to ensure that the services are provided in a manner that is compatible with the lawyer’s professional obligations.”


  • From Hydraulics & Pneumatics (my first from that publication!): How Artificial Intelligence Is Changing Construction. “Artificial intelligence is expected to alter business models in the construction industry in areas including logistics, customer relationship management, support, workflow automation, and finance. Even more, artificial intelligence can help in recreating realistic situations for training, reducing injuries and costly mistakes and making operations more efficient. This can enable operators to better use existing labor resources, helping with the skilled labor shortage in construction.” The article explains current constraints to adoption.


  • Don’t forget to swallow your AI: This swallowable chip uses glowing bacteria to spot hidden illnesses. “Researchers at MIT have been working on a chip that could one day be offered to patients with suspected gastrointestinal bleeds instead of an endoscopy. The researchers have created a prototype of the chip that can be swallowed like a pill, sampling a patient’s gastrointestinal environment for signs of bleeding as it travels through their digestive system.”


  • Trump’s trade war with China has AI implicationsTrump focuses on technology exports, foreign investments in ongoing trade war. “Already threatened by escalating U.S. taxes on its goods, China is about to find it much harder to invest in U.S. companies or to buy American technology in such cutting-edge areas as robotics, artificial intelligence and virtual reality.”



  • From Waller: “When it comes to digital coins or tokens, it’s best to approach with caution, ask plenty of questions and conduct extensive research before making an investment, warns the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (the “CFTC”).”


  • And now, blockchain-based insurance against security failures of smart contracts: Ethereum-Powered Insurer Nexus Is Winning Over Blockchain Skeptics. “With Nexus, Karp is trying to revive mutual insurance, a model that dates back to the 17th century and, many argue, aligned the interests of participants better than today’s profit-maximizing insurance firms. Nexus is one of a handful of blockchain startups, at various stages of development, aiming to use the technology for this purpose.” Much more here.
  • From Jones DayMajor Patent Offices Meet to Discuss Adoption of AI Tools.


  • In this post, Jones Day suggests that Trump may impose tariffs on AI: “President Trump is reportedly considering another round of Section 232 duties of potentially up to 25 percent on automobile and auto parts imports. … Additionally, the administration has suggested that it is considering whether to initiate Section 232 cases on other industries, including semiconductors and artificial intelligence.”

This opinion piece from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette suggests that China may resist. Here’s how a trade war over tariffs between America and China could play out.



  • From Fisher PhillipsRobots, Automation and A.I., Oh My – California Proposes to Establish “Commission on the Future of Work”


  • JDJournal posted this discussion of AI as a threat to legal jobs. “Perhaps the biggest challenge for law firms will be adapting to a new business model that embraces and incorporates AI. The hope  is that an increase in capabilities by a law firm will result in an increased ability to take on additional legal projects.”


  • Peter Darling, AI consultant to the legal industry has some interesting thoughts in this provocatively titled post: Start Learning to Trust Artificial Intelligence; You’ll Make More Money. “…(O)ne of the most important levers firm management can move to increase profitability is to make these processes more accurate, more efficient, faster and above all, less dependent on human beings. This saves the firm money and time and, ultimately, helps the bottom line. Artificial intelligence is ideal for automating a lot of these processes.”



  • JP Morgan is unleashing artificial intelligence on a business that moves $5 trillion for corporations every day. (It’s the treasury services division.) Details in this post.

And JP Morgan’s treasury management services unit “…is reportedly testing an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered bot to support corporate clients and anticipate their needs. The publication said such a bot would be a first for the corporate payments industry.” Story here.


  • I post about investments in legal AI every now and then, but I skip about 20 such stories for every one I post. This one seems particularly interesting: Seal Software unveils global partnership with DocuSign, announces $30 million in growth capital from Toba.


  • This teaser includes the link to a deep dive report by Deloitte titled: Machines with purpose. From theory to practice: Artificial Intelligence in professional services. The report is a review of where we are, the story of how we got here, and suggestions for selecting and implementing AI solutions. Oh, and they make the business case for doing so. Good stuff.


  • From the Law Society Gazette: “Britain has an opportunity to be a global leader in new technologies transforming legal business and access to justice – but should beware of complaceny, the minister for legal services said last night. ‘There is a lawtech revolution happening all over the world and I want to make sure the UK not only keeps pace with it but leads it,’ Lord Keen of Elie (Richard Keen QC) told an event to launch the latest ‘lawtech incubator’. However Keen warned ‘We cannot afford to be complacent’, pointing to competing initiatives in Canada and Singapore.”


  • This editorial from The Irish Times suggests that AI in legal may take a while, but “better faster cheaper” (my words) will come. Making a case for artificial intelligence in the legal profession.


  • Blockchain News:

– Cloudsight adds Bitcoin Lightning payment to allow instant AI-to-AI transactions. Story from VentureBeat here.

From Bloomberg LawBlockchain Patent Holders Look to Dodge Trolls, Lawsuits. “A surging number of blockchain experiments and related patent applications across various industries present ripe opportunities for patent assertion entities or trolls, as they’re often known, who could hamper innovation if not properly contained, patent attorneys say.”


  • Here’s more on MIT’s recent breakthrough on reading brainwaves. How to control robots with brainwaves and hand gestures. “Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory system enables people to correct robot mistakes on multiple-choice tasks.”


  • This is a cool infographic presentation about using AI in a small business. It includes sample vendors. Many of these applications are relevant for law firms. 12 Actionable Tips on How to Leverage Artificial Intelligence in a Small Business.


  • Because it’s Friday, here’s the link to a very good intro to AI from the Discovery Channel, it’s clear, pretty comprehensive, and very up-to-date. Here’s a review from c|net.

I swear I curate this stuff, passing over at least 20 articles and posts for every one that I mention here. It’s just a REALLY busy time for legal AI!


  • “(A) survey (of lawyers)by IQPC, ahead of its Legal AI Forum event later this year (18 -19 September in London), gathered feedback from around 200 legal professionals and the following is what they found:” Actually, what they found is here. The findings are very interesting (with several cool infographics), and point to movement regarding AI “toward real and substantive market adoption.”


  • Back in December, I mentioned that “LawDroid, has been awarded a contract to build a voice-activated legal aid bot in the US in a major ‘real world’ test of the technology and its access to justice (A2J) capabilities.” Seems they were serious as Artificial Lawyer posted today that “LawDroid, the legal bot pioneer, has helped to develop a new bot (PatBot) with Washington State law firm, Palace Law, that helps clients gather essential information about personal injury claims in the workplace.The objective of the bot is not to give legal advice, but instead to provide a ‘legal health check’ to make sure potential clients are not missing out on their legal rights, or to find if they have omitted key steps in the claims procedure, which most people would not be aware of.” A2J!!


  • A smartphone launched in India today (Realme 1) “comes with Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered real selfies technology, which is capable of recognising 296 recognition points based on age, sex, skin color or tone and precisely get all the face information of the owner.”


  • Arnold & Porter’s Rhiannon Hughes wonders Is The EU Product Liability Directive Still Fit For Purpose? “(G)iven the challenges posed by digitisation, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity now and in the future, and, if it does not, what changes would be required to address the shortcomings.”


  • Cleary Gottlieb Partner Lev Dassin Discusses Influence of Tech on Financial Crimes. The post is not much as much a “discussion,” as an attempt to start a discussion thread rolling.


  • From Sidley Austin’s Christopher Fonzone and Kate Heinzelman, What Congress’s First Steps Into AI Legislation Portend. “Although it’s too early to provide a definitive answer about how Congress will react, the past several months have offered the first real clues as to where lawmakers might be headed.” Details here.


  • Press release: “Thomson Reuters has enhanced its World-Check One platform with the launch of Media Check, a unique media screening and processing feature powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that helps address the regulatory and reputational consequences of overlooking key data in the fight against financial crime.”



  • “Amazon is currently working towards the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements so Alexa can start providing healthcare advice and information.” Details here and here.


  • Other interesting posts from Artificial Lawyer:

– Reed Smith Rolls Out ‘Innovation Hours’ Towards Billable Targets. Good idea!

– “US law firms appear to have well and truly got behind AI-driven legal research, with Casetext, one of the pioneers in the sector, adding AmLaw 100 firm Blank Rome to a growing list of clients that includes: Quinn EmanuelFenwick & WestDLA Piper, Baker DonelsonOgletree Deakins, and O’Melveny & Myers to name a few.” Other providers and firms are discussed here.

 – Norton Rose Rolls Out ‘Parker’ the Legal Chat Bot for GDPR.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner Launches Own Contracting Tool – Swiftagree


  • Press release: “According to survey findings released today by Seyfarth Shaw, the majority of business leaders are more “hopeful” about the future of enterprise than last year, with 84 percent expressing optimism compared to 70 percent in 2017.” “Over the next five years, automation and artificial intelligence will have the biggest impact on business operations and processes, according to 62% of survey participants.”


  • Here’s another press release from Compliance.ai. With more than 2.3 Million Regulatory Documents Processed, Compliance.ai is providing Chief Compliance Officers With a Competitive Advantage and Transforming RegTech. (I posted the first on August 16, 2017)


  • Here’s an interesting list and discussion of “ethical issues raised by the use of AI in healthcare.”


  • “YouTube has announced that, as part of its YouTube Red original programming, Robert Downey Jr will host and narrate an eight-part documentary series … to explore AI through a lens of objectivity and accessibility, in a thoroughly bold, splashy, and entertaining way.” Details here.


  •  I love the headline to this post from Popular Science. Did artificial intelligence write this post? Maybe. It’s an article with various news tidbits.


  • AI and insurance, in China. “Assessing damage caused to their rides has just gotten a lot easier for car owners in China, with the rollout of a video-based, artificial-intelligence app from Ant Financial.” “Dingsunbao 2.0’s secret sauce includes 46 patented technologies, such as simultaneous localization and mapping, a mobile deep-learning model, damage detection with video streaming, a results display with augmented reality and others.”


  • When making a presentation about AI yesterday, several in the audience seemed surprised and at least a bit alarmed when I talked about surveillance cameras and AI-based facial recognition being used by governments in public places. I was surprised they were surprised. Get used to it folks, this stuff is real, and it’s not just in China and Dubai. In many ways, trying to protect your privacy is a fight you will not win. To wit, here.

My biggest takeaway from last week’s CES show in Vegas is that as 2018 begins, voice assistants, especially Amazon Alexa and Google Home, are the hottest things going. Similar tech is offered by Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana, but they lag far behind. Just about everyone seems convinced that voice interfaces are here to stay and will supplant physical interfaces (e.g., touchpads and keyboards) in most applications from steering wheels to cookbooks. 39 million Americans (16%) now own a smart speaker. 11 percent of Americans own an Amazon Echo, and 4 percent own a Google Home product. Here’s an overview of almost everything Google Home can do, and here for Amazon’s Alexa.

I am often asked which to try. The answer depends on your desired applications and your personal tech ecosystem. For instance, though Siri lags in many ways (including a required pause between when you say “Hey, Siri” and when you can complete your request), if you’re mainly looking for home automation (especially if you’re very concerned about the security of your system), I recommend Siri (and the associated Apple HomeKit). For general inquiry stuff like news, Wikipedia, games and recipes, I’d go with Google. For shopping, it’s Alexa. (Major points to Alexa for being able to rename it “Computer,” making me feel like Scotty on Star Trek whenever I use it!) Again, all of this is trumped by your current ecosystem. If your phones are Android and office tools Google (and perhaps you use Chromecast), try Google Home. If you have Amazon Prime and use Amazon Prime Music, go with Alexa. If you have an iPhone and use iTunes, you should probably go with Apple, hoping that the HomePod will be released soon. (Without that, unlike Google Home and Amazon Alexa which are constantly listening [creepy?], Siri passively listens for its wake-up word only if your Apple device is docked or plugged in.)

This is the HomeKit App on my iPad. If You Have an iPhone or iPad, You Already Have It.

As a case study, without TOO much trouble, I now have my home set up so that at wake up time in the morning (at an appointed hour or just before sunrise on weekends), Alexa starts playing some of my favorite Beatles songs, just loudly enough to gently wake me up.


Bedroom Wall. Morning Alarm: Alexa Playing The Beatles. The Blue Ring Indicates She’s Active.

Eventually, I mumble through the pillows: “Hey Siri” (pause) “Good morning” to my iPhone docked in a clock radio charger next to my bed, and Apple turns on the lights in my bedroom (at 40%) and bathroom (100%), starts my coffee and turns on a couple of lights in the kitchen. Apple (via Ecobee) also raises the temperature on my main floor to 72 degrees.

Bedside. “Hey Siri, Good Morning.”

When I make it out to the kitchen, I say “OK Google, good morning,” and Google gives me the day’s weather forecast followed by news from the sources I have selected (NPR, CNET and BBC).

Kitchen. “OK Google, Good Morning” Triggers Weather & News Reports

Breakfast done, as I pass through the living room I say, “Computer, it’s work time,” and Alexa turns off the lights on the main floor, turns on the ones in my office, starts some chamber music playing softly at my desk, and turns the thermostats up in the office and down on the main floor. In the summer, the temperature ups and downs automatically adjust for the outside temps. One of my favorite things about all three systems is that all commands can be given in a normal conversational voice without shouting.

Living Room. Inconspicuously Resting on a Shelf, Alexa Hears, “Computer, It’s Work Time.”

If I leave the house during the day, Siri senses that I’m out of the range of my WiFi, locks the pedestrian door to my garage, turns off all of the lights in the house (except porch lights), and to save energy turns all of my thermostats to a cooler temp in the winter or warmer in the summer. When I return to WiFi range, my thermostats go back to their standard programming and if it’s after sunset a couple of lights turn on so I’m not entering a dark house.

I have not yet integrated my Apple calendar, to-do list or contacts into the Google or Alexa apps. There’s always more to do.

In My Office. Google and Alexa Awaiting Commands. When I Get to My Desk, Chamber Music is Already Playing through My B&W A7.

I do all of this is with the entry level models: Siri, Google’s Home Mini and Amazon’s Echo Dot. For better quality sound, I have them working with external speakers and my TV (“Hey Google, play season 2, episode 3 of ‘Stranger Things'”). Almost all of this could be done with any one of the devices. I use them all just as a learning tool.

I’ll Finish Installation of this Echo Dot in My Bathroom this Afternoon. The Flush Wall Mounting Shown Here and in the Bedroom is Not Necessary, But I Like It.

Back to CES: hundreds of vendors announced their current and coming support for Google Home and Amazon Alexa. Voice-controlled digital assistance will be HUGE in 2018. Perhaps the best news is that even with the post-holiday price increases, the entry level models from Google (Home Mini) and Alexa (Echo Dot) are only $50. Both are very simple to install and use. If you have an iPhone with Siri, you’re already on your way.


  • I mentioned Microsoft’s Cortana at the top of this post. For five reasons, I expect Cortana’s days are numbered. 1. Several PC makers announced at CES that Alexa will be built into their new machines. 2. Back in August, Microsoft announced that Alexa can be accessed through Cortana. 3. No new Cortana devices were announced at CES. 4. While instantly available on most Windows PCs, almost no one uses it. I messed with it for about 15 minutes once, wasn’t impressed, and haven’t gone back 5. And then there’s the marketing. Do you recognize this as the Cortana logo?


  • From Amy Spooner of University of Michigan Law School, a very long but good overview of the applications of AI in the practice of law. Many sources are cited and it’s replete with stats. Seems clients are driving a lot of this. Again, they want “better, faster, cheaper.”


  • From Blank Rome, “On October 17, 2017, San Francisco-based “EquBot” announced that it is launching an ETF powered by artificial intelligence (“AI”). Through IBM’s AI platform known as Watson, the ETF will seek to mirror what a team of human equity research analysts do on a daily basis.” More details here.


  • Here’s a fun graph from Artificial Lawyer. It shows the attitudes toward AI of some of the folks who have been vocal about it (Musk, Hawking, Gates and Zuckerberg among others), and how their opinions have evolved.


  • Here’s yet another good overview of what AI will be doing for Marketing in 2018. All of this is adaptable to Legal Marketing. (It mentions that “67 million voice-assisted devices will be in use in the U.S. by 2019”.)


  • I love this idea! AI is all about the data, right? And your biggest pile of data is your firm’s backups, right? So why not put that data to use as an AI learning tool; instead of it just sitting there, put AI data crawlers to work learning from it. It’s an awesome, but overlooked training set!


  • AI by Alibaba and Microsoft have independently surpassed human readers in a widely accepted test of reading comprehension.


  • Finally for today: When one gets into really futurist AI stuff the subject of transferring our “meat minds” into more durable technological form often comes up. This post is a wonderful (i.e., scientific but fun too) exploration of that possibility. Enjoy! (Some NSFW language.)
  • This discussion of “Cyber security and AI predictions 2018” from Information Age is very relevant to law firms. It discusses the many motivations, vectors and targets involved. AI is mentioned as a necessary defense mechanism (as well as potential miscreant).


  • If you’re looking for a very brief intro to AI and its application to legal work, you can’t do much better than this short piece from Thomson Reuters. And here’s a VERY similar piece from Above the Law.





  • Governments involved in AI:

US (from Sheppard Mullin): Seeking foreign investors for your tech startup? Congress says, “not so fast.”

France to vet takeovers of firms in data and artificial intelligence.

– “Europe plans to spend €1 billion on supercomputers as it looks to keep pace with the US and China.” “…to develop technologies such as artificial intelligence and build the future’s everyday applications in areas like health, security or engineering.”


  • From CES:

– I love this: a security camera that, to protect your privacy, looks away when you get home.

– The NYT has dubbed this year’s event, “The Year of AI.” And The Economist says, Artificial intelligence dominated the Consumer Electronics Show.”

– This article discusses the ways tech being presented at CES may impact the insurance industry. “2018 is another year for further disruption in the insurance industry. It seems that most personal consumer tech can become an InsurTech that can change how we purchase and use insurance going forward.”

– AIcorrect Translator from Babel Technology in Beijing is getting attention. “It supports real-time mutual translation in multiple situations between Chinese/English and 30 other languages, including Japanese, Korean, Thai, French, Russian and Spanish, major languages like English are further divided into accents. The translation quality reaches as high as 96%.”


  • Here’s the ALM overview of the annual Citibank Client Advisory and here’s the full report. It’s a “must read.” There’s a good paragraph about AI which leads with “The development of client-facing artificial intelligence solutions will also continue to be a market force.”


  • Artificial Lawyer reports: “Leading Swiss law firm Meyerlustenberger Lachenal (MLL) has joined global professional services giant PwC in selling automated contract templates via PartnerVine in a move that shows the ‘industrialisation’ of the legal sector is now truly speeding up.”


  • Press release: “Dickson Minto has selected Luminance as its artificial intelligence platform for due diligence after a competitive selection process and pilot exercise. The Luminance platform has the ability to quickly understand and prioritise documents in a data room.”


  • I like the way Orrick  is presenting its tech expertise, including this “Profile in Innovation” interview of Nicholas Thompson, editor of Wired, by Annette Hurst. It includes legal issues related to AI, blockchain and more.


  • Foley partner Andrew Hurst is quoted in a Washington Lawyer article, “AI & the Legal Workplace,” about the evolution of technology in the legal field. Hurst said the firm’s increasing reliance on AI in document review and related tasks has reduced the need for junior and mid-level associates. David Tanenholz of Tanenholz & Associates, Jeanette Derby of Legal E Employment Partners and Gary Swisher, president of the ALA, are also extensively quoted.


  • Foley’s very active auto industry blog (“Dashboard Insights”) has an interesting post titled, “The Dawn of Self-Driving Rideshares Has Already Arrived.”


  • The Financial Times has named its 2017 Top 10 Legal Innovators in North America. It’s great to see recognized important A2J players (Stephen Manning, legal director of the Innovation Law Lab; and Joshua Browder, founder of DoNotPay), and some of the law firms who are taking AI most seriously.


  • Here’s more from The British Academy and the Royal Society on the need for data governance/regulation.


  • Justin Reilly, head of customer experience innovation for Verizon Fios, has some interesting thoughts on AI in this interview with Knowledge@Wharton. Among his conclusions: “Probably 80% of the value creation in AI is going to be in B2B or large scale infrastructure, and about 20% in customer value creation.”


  • Fake news: Yesterday I mentioned that Microsoft has stepped up its use of AI in its search engine, Bing. Among the new features is “one that summarizes the two opposing sides of contentious questions, and another that measures how many reputable sources are behind a given answer. Tired of delivering misleading information when their algorithms are gamed by trolls and purveyors of fake news, Microsoft and its tech-company rivals have been going out of their way to show they can be purveyors of good information—either by using better algorithms or hiring more human moderators.”


  • In 2018, Korn Ferry sees increased use of AI in recruiting, but not less for recruiters to do.


  • Here’s a a very accessible explanation of blockchain, bitcoin and related tech.


  • It’s Friday, so here’s a really out-of-this-world AI story:  has used Google’s  to discover a record-tying eighth  circling a Sun-like star 2,545 light-years from Earth, marking the first finding of an eight-planet solar system like ours.

  • According to Artificial Lawyer, “Global insurance law firm, Clyde & Co, has launched a special consultancy division dedicated to helping clients with smart legal contract and blockchain technology”


  • Here’s a Q&A with Luis Salazar re Salazar Law’s experience using ROSS to do legal research. Spoiler: GC’s love it.


  • Last week, there was a “Nordic Legal Tech Day” in Stockholm. The keynote was: Richard Tromans’ “Legal AI – Where it Stands Today and What it Means For Lawyers and Clients.” This stuff is everywhere!


  • Speaking of conference keynotes, in preparation for next year’s EU General Data Protection Regulation, this Wednesday the UK’s Law Society will hold a conference titled “Legal services in a data driven world.” The keynote will be by Dave Coplin, chief envisioning officer, The Envisioners Ltd.


  • Thomson Reuters is one of the best and most easily integrated sources of Big Data for law firms. They have just upgraded their CLEAR online investigations suite to include data re business and organizational to complete identity verification tasks, including risk evaluation and business vetting. Details here.



  • Algorithmic stock trading has been around for a long time, but this weekend there were a couple of good articles on the subject in case you’d like a refresher or an update on the subject.


  • There’s a LOT of money being invested on AI. This article from Barron’s has some thoughts on the subject.


  • This very readable essay by Danny Guillory and published by GE argues that we need to get focused on AI’s sensitivity to diversity in all of its forms, including ethnicity, gender, ,age, culture, tradition, and religion.


  • This article from Forbes presents “Five Reasons Why Corporations May Be Slow To Adopt AI.” They all apply to law firms.


  • In the mood for futurist speculation about AI? Then check out this summary of Max Tegmark’s new book: “Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence.”


  • Just for fun: A History of Artificial Intelligence in Top 10 Landmarks.