• A couple of days ago I reported on EY’s acquisition of Riverview Law. Since then it has been very widely reported (e.g., here) and the subject of many tweets, blog posts (e.g., here) and articles. Many see it as a portent of things to come, some agreeing with “Cornelius Grossmann, Ernst & Young’s global law leader, (who) said in a press release that the acquisition ‘underlines the position of EY as a leading disruptor of legal services.’ EY says the company will help it cut the costs of routine legal activities.” Artificial Lawyer’s in-depth analysis includes: “The EY/Riverlaw deal matters, but it matters most because it is part of a far larger picture: the incremental industrialisation of the provision of legal services to the global economy and society as a whole.”

 

  • AI you can use! This interview with Ping CEO Ryan Alshak describes how his company tries to take the pain out of timekeeping. “We obsess over eliminating the friction of timekeeping. There is no reason why it should take just as long to log work as it does to perform the work in the first place. Our design motto is ‘less clicks.’ In terms of automation, we plug into systems lawyers use to perform billable work and we leverage machine learning to build a complete timesheet. So, a lawyer works exactly as they are now, and Ping captures, categorizes, describes and codifies it automatically. The lawyer just needs to review and release.” Of course, this is only relevant if your law firm still records time.

 

  • From Radiant Law, a LawTech Glossary with more than a twist of sarcasm. for instance, AI is, “A term for when a computer system does magic. “General” artificial intelligence refers to thinking computers, a concept that for the foreseeable future exists only in science fiction and LawTech talks. “Narrow” artificial intelligence refers to a limited capability (albeit one that may be very useful) such as classifying text or pictures, or expert systems. Discussions of AI that blur general and narrow AI are a good indication that you are dealing with bullshit.” I also enjoyed this one: “Design thinking: A new approach to improving processes, involving sticking brightly coloured post-it notes to walls or, preferably, windows.”

 

  • Ropes & Gray (Mark V. NuccioGideon BlattMike Tierney) issued this alert regarding a report issued July 31: Treasury Department Issues Regulatory Report on Fintech and Innovation. Among Treasury’s recommendations: “Further development and incorporation of cloud technologies, machine learning, and artificial intelligence into financial services.”

 

  • This article (The Robots are Not Just Coming – They are Already Here) is from the Journal of Accountancy, but its recommendations for “Cherished Advisors” are applicable to law firms.

 

  • Computer Security: New genre of artificial intelligence programs take computer hacking to another level. “(A) team from IBM … have used the artificial intelligence technique known as machine learning to build hacking programs that could slip past top-tier defensive measures. The group will unveil details of its experiment at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday.”  “Whoever you personally consider evil is already working on this.” More here.

 

  • National Security: As China’s Military Masters Artificial Intelligence, Why Are We Still Building Aircraft Carriers? “China appears determined to seize this AI “high ground” of future conflict. For the last two years, Chinese companies have won an AI competition for detecting objects. The Chinese are happy for the U.S. to keep building carriers and bombers, so long as they deploy the more advanced technologies that can disable these systems.” “…(I)n the Pentagon’s initial request for $74 billion in new defense spending in fiscal 2019, only .006 percent was targeted for science and technology.”

Meanwhile, thisPentagon to create new command for fighting in space, but resists Trump’s proposed ‘space force’. “Trump has never explained at length why he favors creation of a space force as an additional military service, but the concept often draws loud cheers at rallies.”

And this: JAIC: Pentagon debuts artificial intelligence hub. “On June 27, Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan issued a memorandum that formally established the Defense Department’s new Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC). According to the memo, JAIC’s overarching aim is to accelerate the delivery of AI-enabled capabilities, scale the impact of AI tools, and synchronize the department’s AI efforts.”

 

Blockchain

  • Like Oil and Water: Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain. This post‘s author () remarks that “(o)ver the next ten years, AI and Blockchain are two technologies that will form a pillar for the next set of billion (trillion?) dollar organizations. When combined with the Internet of Things, there are some useful applications that will be created to make our lives even easier.” But for now, he sees AI’s utility mainly in detecting fraudulent blockchain activity, and conversely that blockchain can serve as “(d)ecentralized AI marketplaces for data that AI needs.”
  • The big news yesterday was Thomson Reuters’ launch of “…Westlaw Edge, an updated, artificial intelligence-assisted legal research platform. The updates include new warnings for invalid or questionable law, litigation analytics, a tool to analyze statutory changes and an improved AI-enhanced search called WestSearch Plus.” Here’s their video promo piece, and here the press release. Kudos to Thomson Reuters for garnering so much coverage, such as here and here. This early review by Bob Ambrogi is especially interesting, as is this from Jean O’Grady.

At the same time, Artificial Lawyer has this coverage of Eikon Digest, Thomson Reuters’ “new algorithmic research service aimed at the financial sector, in a move that shows the increasing use of machine learning, NLP and related tech.”

 

  • Meanwhile, “LexisNexis® Legal & Professional today announced the launch of Lexis Analytics, a comprehensive suite of analytics tools that leverages advanced technology, vast stores of legal content and expert curation to give lawyers a decisive competitive advantage in the business and practice of law.” Here’s the press release.

 

  • From LegalWeek, here are Jeffrey Catanzaro’s thoughts about: What junior lawyers need to know about artificial intelligence. “The new lawyers of today are the managing partners and general counsel of tomorrow, and although some commentators may assert that the profession is disruption-free, an increasing body of evidence does suggest the contrary. As the American media mogul Ryan Kavanaugh once said: -The key is to embrace disruption and change early. Don’t react to it decades later. You can’t fight innovation.'”

 

  • Tracy Molino of Dentons has these thoughts about: The practical uses of distributed ledger technology, beyond cryptocurrencies. She breaks down the applications by industry. “Dentons is proud to be the first Canadian law firm to join the Global Legal Blockchain Consortium (GLBC).”

 

  • This piece from The Economist, Law firms climb aboard the AI wagon, doesn’t break any new ground, but provides an overview of law firm applications of AI and the possible ramifications thereof. “Will legal employment eventually shrink? The jury is still out. Some firms expect to employ fewer graduates. But others argue that cheaper services could encourage clients to consult their lawyers more. And although some tasks are automatable, many others rely on human judgment. AI might pinpoint atypical clauses in contracts, for example, but it cannot decide if the anomaly is a deal-breaker. In any event, lawyers should start to find their work more interesting.”

 

  • Here’s a new A2J tool! “An artificial intelligence (AI) platform designed for businesses is to help staff at food banks and MPs’ surgeries refer legal enquiries from members of the public to lawyers….” “What we will be offering is a tool to connect advice givers and lawyers, rather than a replacement for initiatives already taking place.”

 

  • From Artificial Lawyer, “US law firm Fenwick & West has taken the unusual step of making a public announcement about the positive impact its use of legal AI technology, in this case mainly Kira Systems, is having on the firm, stating that use of automated review technology has cut the time needed for such work ‘by half’.

 

  • Press release: “Seal Software, the leading provider of content discovery and analytics solutions, today announced the acquisition of Apogee Legal, a global leader in advanced contract analytics for the enterprise, in a move that will bolster Seal’s award-winning suite of market leading Intelligent Content Analytics (ICA) AI solutions and its global management team.”

 

  • I’ve posted several times about the burgeoning field of AI-based sentiment analysis and it’s use in applications from police departments to job interviews to advertisers. Now there’s an app for that, so you can try it yourself. “The app uses the latest emotional artificial intelligence (Emotion AI) to read 43 facial muscles 14 times a second, using the front camera of a smartphone. The app gives you seven emotional states – fear, anger, disgust, happiness, contempt, sadness, and surprise. It works while you’re watching a video from a friend, recording your reaction at the same time using the front camera. The recipient and the sender both can see the emotion results in real-time, with the top two emotions given priority. These top two emotions are shows with percentages, indicating which emotion is felt the most by individuals concerned.”

 

  • And finally, here’s a weekend thought piece for you: The New Intelligence: Modern AI and the fundamental undoing of the scientific method. “The days of traditional, human-driven problem solving — developing a hypothesis, uncovering principles, and testing that hypothesis through deduction, logic, and experimentation — may be coming to an end. A confluence of factors (large data sets, step-change infrastructure, algorithms, and computational resources) are moving us toward an entirely new type of discovery, one that sits far beyond the constraints of human-like logic or decision-making: driven solely by AI, rooted in radical empiricism. The implications — from how we celebrate scientific discovery to assigning moral responsibility to those discoveries — are far-reaching.” It’s thought provoking, to say the least.

AI Funding:

– Influential Raises $12 Mn Funding To Fuel Its Artificial intelligence Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Platform.

From BloombergBillionaire Who Helped Dark Knight Rise Goes All-In on AI.

From Artificial Lawyer: “Brazilian legal tech platform, Juridoc, is launching a fundraising round on Latin America’s Kria crowdfunding site.” “Juridoc’s founder, Maxime Troubat, is seeking to raise R$550,000 in total, which is about US$150,000, with R$300,000 coming from individuals making an investment via Kria to build out the platform for the Brazilian legal market.”

Also from Artificial Lawyer‘Legal AI is an Arms Race and the $17.5m Will Help Us Win It’ – Eigen.

 BEIJING – “JD.com, one of China’s largest E-commerce firms, has announced that Google are [sic] set to invest around US$550 million in the company in order to advance a strategic partnership with the aim of developing a ‘personalised and frictionless’ consumer experience.”

Whatever happened to all of the rush of law firms to go public? Well, there’s this: “In line with its strategy of ‘doing things differently’ and in order to help increase its investment in technology and connected services, DWF may shortly become the largest law firm to float on the London Stock Market with a valuation of up to £1bn.”

 

Some blockchain news bits:

This is an interesting podcast from Child & Child: “Artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and smart contracts are the buzzwords of the moment. And some reckon that their combined force could be about to disrupt the legal profession as we know it.”

– Lots of legal implications here: ‘Walk In With Your Eyes Open’: Navigating Blockchain And CRE (Commercial Real Estate.)

From Global Banking and Finance ReviewArtificial Intelligence (AI) Takes a Giant Leap Forward With Blockchain Infusion. “As Artificial Intelligence advances, the need for enhanced security is becoming apparent and therefore Blockchain is becoming more common in the market.”

This 10-minute video Australian law firm, Corrs Chambers Westgarth shows how a real estate transaction can be executed on the Ethereum blockchain.

 

  • From ProskauerUnited States: AI: Next Big Thing Or Next Big Lawsuit? “AI is prone to bias and discrimination in employment decisions. The reasons for this are twofold. First, AI is only as objective as the engineers who coded it. As such, intrinsic biases can make their way into code, which the AI program’s analyses may reflect. Second, AI learns from the data it is fed. The data, however, often include implicit biases from the real world that AI may perpetuate.”

 

And… “In one of those unexpected moments of synchronicity, Canada has also just launched a major research project into AI and justice that, like the UK’s commission on algorithms and justice that was launched yesterday by the Law Society, may also produce recommendations on ethics and regulation of the technology, with a central aim to increase access to justice through the use of AI.”

 

  • “It’s all about the data” is a phrase I often repeat in my presentations on AI, and this post from Above the Law underscores the point. What Makes Good Legal AI? Quality Data.

 

  • Here, also from Above the Law, is a deep dive into The Ethical Implications of Artificial Intelligence. “Artificial intelligence is transforming the legal profession — and that includes legal ethics. AI and similar cutting-edge technologies raise many complex ethical issues and challenges that lawyers ignore at their peril. At the same time, AI also holds out the promise of helping lawyers to meet their ethical obligations, serve their clients more effectively, and promote access to justice and the rule of law.”

 

  • Here’s a good discussion of where we are today vis-a-vis reaching Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), in many ways AI’s Holy Grail. “A machine with true AGI would be able to perform any intellectual task a human being can. This means if you asked a robot with AGI to hammer a nail, it wouldn’t need to be programmed to do so. It would try — and possibly fail — on its own. It would be able to learn from its mistakes and try until it got it right.”
  • Here, from Kira Systems, is a good primer on Contract Analysis AI. Contract Analysis Software: The Technology Fundamentals.

 

  • There’s more news about contracts re: “ABBYY®, a global provider of content intelligence services, today announced the launch of ABBYY Text Analytics for Contracts, a managed service that automatically discovers insights from contracts and leases to speed up risk mitigation, obligation analysis and content migration. With Text Analytics for Contracts, businesses can leverage the entire ABBYY technology portfolio to accelerate time-to-value and successfully implement their contract lifecycle management, robotic process automation and digital transformation strategies. The new scalable managed service uses AI to dramatically accelerate business decision-making through human-like understanding of contracts.”

 

  • Press release worth reading: Fastcase, … today announces the debut of its Artificial Intelligence Sandbox alongside several law firms, each known for their innovative and tech-forward approaches to knowledge and information management. … BakerHostetler, DLA Piper, Baker Donelson, and a host of other pioneering law firms are leveraging the AI Sandbox and participating in the developers group. Fastcase’s AI Sandbox is a customized first-of-its-kind platform that allows law firms to use artificial intelligence in a secure environment to crunch their own big data, compare it with public legal data or metadata from Fastcase, and analyze it using cognitive intelligence tools such as IBM Watson Analytics and Watson Developer Cloud.

– More details here: “Among the AI tools contained in this initial release, in addition to those from Watson, are indexing and visualization software from ElasticSearch; expert system platform Neota LogicContraxSuite, a machine learning tool for contract and document analytics from LexPredict; customized expert witness content from Courtroom Insight; and more. The platform will include legal data from Fastcase as well as docket data from Docket Alarm, which Fastcase acquired in January.”

 

  • From Crowell & Moring: “Crowell & Moring Launches Digital Transformation Practice. Team Delivers Regulatory and Business Solutions for Autonomous Vehicles, 3D Printing, Digital Health, and Other Technologies”

 

  • Norton Rose reports: “…(T)he Canadian government has begun a review of Canada’s Copyright Act with a view to keep the copyright framework current in light of digital technology. Written submissions are now being solicited from all Canadians on Canada’s Copyright Act, as the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology (“Committee”) conducts its mandatory five-year review of the statute.”

And: “Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright Global has signed up to Eagle Lab – a new law-tech incubator launched by Barclays and the Law Society. The aim of the lab is to help the UK be a leader in the field of law technology.”

 

  • Artificial Lawyer reports that, “Indian legal AI pioneer, MikeLegal, which provides legal research in areas such as IP, has now launched an NLP-driven trademark (TM) service, which offers search and an automated ‘TM watch’ capability.”

 

  • From Law.com: Reed Smith Enters the Legal Technology Market With GravityStack Subsidiary, “The firm’s new U.S. subsidiary will incubate and license legal technology, as well as offer tech counseling and managed services to law firm and legal department clients.”

 

  • When speaking about AI (e.g., yesterday), I usually start by urging folks not to get hung up on a precise definition of AI. In this piece from The ABA Journal, Jason Tashea discusses his confrontation with this ambiguity and how it will influence his reporting.

– There’s more about AI definitions in this piece from Thomson Reuters.

 

  • From Capitol Hill, specifically Congressman John K. Delaney (MD-6): “The European Union’s executive branch, the European Commission, has announced that it will increase its investment in artificial intelligence (AI) research and development by €1.5 billion and called on member states to invest €20 billion as well.” “Our economic competitors in Europe and Asia are moving forward on AI, while we stand still. I sincerely hope that today’s announcement from the EU gets the attention of Washington and serves as a wake-up call.”

 

  • This essay by Mark A. Cohen discusses disruption in the legal industry. Among his observations: “Law has become a three-legged stool supported by legal, technological and business expertise. To date, no single provider has successfully integrated the three ingredients on a scalable basis. But the evidence suggests that’s about to change.” He says change won’t occur overnight, but “The Lawyer Levee is About to Break.”

 

 

  • These are solid for any marketer, even legal! “Get Smarter With Artificial Intelligence: 11 Ways Marketers Can Leverage AI.” (Nadja Blagojevic of Axoim even participated.)

 

  • Artificial Lawyer reports that Pittsburgh-based legal AI doc review provider “LegalSifter has secured $1.86 million in funding from venture capital fund Birchmere Ventures and several high-net-worth individuals.”

 

  • Epstein Becker partner Bradley Merrill Thompson, was quoted in the Bloomberg BNA Medical Devices Law & Industry Report, in “Who Is Liable for Faulty Artificial Intelligence in Health Care?” by Sara Merken.

 

  • Here are “five legal tech apps disrupting the legal market,” a good summary of the offerings of:
    • CaseCrunch (AI software that can predict legal decisions with high accuracy),
    • Premonition, (which lawyers, win which cases, in front of which judges),
    • Cognitiv+ (monitor changes in legislation and then compare its analysis to a company’s own contracts),
    • Check Recipient (studies your emails and alerts the user when it believes an email has made its way to the wrong person, blocking the attempt), and
    • FLEXEBOSS (online legal marketplace which enables people to search, select and interact with high quality, affordable (20% cheaper than the market rate), vetted UK solicitors to solve their legal issues).

 

  • I have often posted about the international competition to lead in AI, both commercially and militarily. Some of those participating in The Neural Information Processing System (NIPS) conference in Long Beach expect that the US lead may be vulnerable and is threatened by policies such as the tax plan now working its way through Congress. “I’m with everyone else—this is devastating,” says Erik Brynjolfsson, a professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management who is studying the impact of AI on economic growth and inequality. “It’s honestly like it was designed by America’s enemies who want to take us down a notch. American policy is contributing to having AI research leave the country, literally.”

 

  • The ladies have justly received the Time POY award, but “Artificial Intelligence” has been chosen as the “marketing word of the year,” according to the Association of National Advertisers. (Voting was conducted online the week of Nov. 27 with 403 ANA members participating.) “It’s not just the marketing word of the year,” one advertiser said in verbatim comments selected by the ANA. “It’s the transformative phenomenon that’s going to reshape the world as we now know it.”

 

  • Reinforcement learning has done it again. AlphaGo Zero, developed by Google subsidiary DeepMind, only needed four hours of training to defeat the current world champion chess-playing program, Stockfish 8. Out of 100 games, it won 28 and drew the remaining 72. Even more impressively, it achieved this feat almost completely autonomously. “The AI was given a few basic rules, such as how the different chess pieces move, but was programmed with no other strategies or tactics. It simply got better by playing itself over and over again at an accelerated pace….”

 

  • AI News you can use! “Five New AI-Powered Features In Google Sheets Help Businesses Make Better Decisions.” For instance: “Using the ‘Explore’ feature, Sheets will intelligently suggest the right pivot table for you based on the data you have in a spreadsheet. What used to take six or seven steps to look at massive amounts of data (if you knew what you were looking for) just became as easy as clicking a button to visually represent data.”