Your poker face may be more important than you imagine. Or maybe its useless.

Over the past few months I have posted several stories about advances in AI facial recognition. Subjects have included:

– Pornhub identifying “stars.”

– AI seeing past disguises.

– China surveilling citizens with facial recognition systems and 20 million cameras.

– Russia developing ways to use makeup to avoid facial recognition.

– Using facial recognition in eDiscovery.

– Reading the emotions of jurors.

– Who owns your face?

– And, of course, using facial recognition to unlock the upcoming iPhone X.

I have no idea why it’s happening this week, but there has been another flurry of unrelated articles on facial recognition:


  • This article discusses “the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) which governs rules of engagement for businesses seeking to use fingerprints, iris scans, facial data and other biometric identifiers” in the context of devices like the upcoming iPhone X.


  • AI researchers in Japan are tracking split-second changes in the facial expressions of Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda at press conferences to forecast fiscal policy changes. And it seems to be working. “We’d like to analyze (Fed chair Janet) Yellen and (ECB Gov. Mario) Draghi next,” Suimon said.


  • And now for something completely different: “The Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has launched the world’s first initiative for measuring customers’ happiness using artificial intelligence (i.e., facial recognition) technology. This initiative is a towering achievement towards ranking Dubai the smartest and happiest city in the world.” “This technology sends real-time alerts when the predetermined happiness levels increase or decrease in any of the customer’s happiness centres.” (Is this guy happy?? –>)


  • Speaking of your face (OK, that connection is a bit of a stretch), Intel Capital just led a $4.6 million capital round for AdHawk Microsystems’ “camera-free eye tracking system.” The tech and its applications discussed in this article are remarkable.


  • Another government is getting serious about AI. The UAE has appointed a “Minister for Artificial Intelligence” whose job will be to make UAE the “world’s most prepared country” for AI.


  • According to Artificial Lawyer, “IBM Watson has partnered with two of Sweden’s leading law firms, MAQS and Lindahl, as well as legal knowledge management consultancy, VQ, to build an AI-driven contract review and advice system.”


  • Finally for today, I love this tweet from Ron Friedmann.
  • Law firms face threats to their revenue streams from: 1) smarter in-house counsel, 2) other law firms who “get it” re AI and Alternative Fee Arrangements (AFAs), and 3) Alternative Legal Service Providers (ALSPs). In each case, AI can enable those competitors to provide legal services better, faster and cheaper than traditional law firms. Many of the ALSPs grew up funded by investors and with AI in their veins. Still, those who dominate buyers’ mind share tend to be long time familiar brands. Axiom is the big exception. (Kudos to Acritas for providing this methodologically solid research.)


  • Speaking of those brand leaders and AI, Thomson Reuters is investing $100 million in a Toronto tech hub. Recent years’ major advances in AI have depended on breakthroughs in analytic algorithms, processing power and big data. Talk about “big data: “even as the company hosts more of its data on cloudbased servers, it still holds a massive 60,000 terabytes of information in its own data centres.” Wow.


  • According to this story from Artificial Lawyer, the “French Justice Ministry Sees ‘No Additional Value’ in Prédictive Legal AI.” In terms of AI’s promise of “better, faster, cheaper,” the ministry seems to have focused solely on the “better” aspect, ignoring the benefits of “faster” and “cheaper.” (“Prédictive” is being piloted by Taylor Wessing and Dentons, among others.)


  • The whacky world of AI prognostication: This report from CB Insights says AI is putting at risk 10 million jobs in the USA alone. Meanwhile, this one forecasts “huge job growth in AI jobs in Britain,” and this one says, “instead of destroying jobs AI Is creating new jobs in 4 out of 5 companies.” Here’s proof that there’s at least one new job available today!

  • This writer expects AI to “revolutionize marketing,” but sees it a mixed bag when it comes to marketing jobs, eliminating some, and empowering others. That may be related to the finding of this large international study by MIT that “reports that 91 percent of “iconic” companies — those that maintain both the highest levels of customer experience (CX) satisfaction and have world-leading brand recognition — deploy Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions to increase customer satisfaction, compared to 42 percent of companies in their fields overall.”


  • More on facial recognition: I reported a few days ago that China has deployed more than 20 million cameras in public places and intends to compile a database of all citizens’ visages. Reacting to a query concerning the security of that database, a vendor for the Ministry of Public Security claimed that “data theft would be impossible,” saying that “downloading the data would be as difficult as launching a missile with a nuclear warhead.” Is it just me, or does that sound like the precursor to the announcement of a massive security breach?


  • It’s Friday, so here’s an AI thought piece for your weekend. The subject: what is consciousness and can AI ever be conscious/self-aware? It’s a DEEEEEP dive into the Theory of Mind.
  • Richard Susskind:  By 2036, he posits, “It is neither hyperbolic nor fanciful to expect that the legal profession will have changed beyond recognition.” Check out this article for comments by several others regarding the future impact of AI on lawyering. (My prognostication is that Susskind’s predictions are closer to what we’ll see than those of most of these nay-sayers.)


  • One of the developments that has caught me by surprise is the number of major players in AI who have open-sourced their tech. Here’s such an announcement from Intel. This is particularly good news for smaller companies (and law firms) who want to get into the game without huge investments. This author agrees about the benefit to smaller organizations.


  • Clifford Chance is staffing up to focus on cutting edge tech.


  • Big investments in:

Legal AI: Legal research leader ROSS Intelligence has landed an $8.7M investment from a group led by iNovia Capital. ROSS uses the IBM Watson AI engine and is now working with more than 20 law firms.

Marketing: A group led by Insight Venture Partners has purchased Nashville-based “Emma” a tech-driven eMarketing company.


  • The porn industry has been a driver of many tech innovations (e.g., VCRs, DVDs, augmented reality, Internet streaming). Now Pornhub is using facial recognition to identify and tag the “stars” of their videos.


  • Here’s a fun comparison by Time of where AI seems to really be headed vs its portrayal in Sc-Fi.
(Original Caption) Boris Karloff, Colin Clive and Dwight Frye in a scene from the 1931 Universal Pictures production of Frankenstein.
  • This piece from CB Insights is the deepest dive I’ve seen in a while into the impact of AI on jobs. I disagree with some of the conclusions, but there’s a lot of good data here. The brief discussion of lawyers is near the end (search your browser for “Lawyers”) and you should jump right to it.


  • Official governmental use of AI translation: the EU Council Presidency has began using Tilde, a AI-powered translation tool to enable multilingual communication. This system is from Estonia, another country whose government is solidly behind AI innovations.


  • I saw “Blade Runner 2049” yesterday and loved it. As with the original, in addition to being an excellent film, it raises many questions about our relationship with AI. As this reviewer points out, “this is a cautionary warning of what may actually happen.” This review does a good job of putting this film in the context of other AI-related works.


  • And in the almost Sci-Fi front, facial recognition AI is getting so good that it can see past disguises.


  • Mattel has had another AI product shot down (remember W-Fi Barbie in 2015?). This time it’s AI-powered babysitter “Aristotle.” A non-profit watchdog group successfully argued that it “attempts to replace the care, judgment and companionship of loving family members with faux nurturing and conversation from a robot designed to sell products and build brand loyalty.”


  • Wow. It has been 20 years since IBM’s Deep Blue beat Garry Kasparov in a game of chess. Kasparov has some interesting (and generally positive) thoughts about AI here.
  • This paper from Harvard Journal of Law & Technology discusses AI’s challenges to the US legal system and the need for regulation.

“…the unique features of AI and the manner in which AI can be developed present both practical and conceptual challenges for the legal system. These challenges must be confronted if the legal system is to positively impact the development of AI and ensure that aggrieved parties receive compensation when AI systems cause harm. This article will explore the public risks associated with AI and the competencies of government institutions in managing those risks. It concludes with a proposal for an indirect form of AI regulation based on differential tort liability.”


  • More on regulation from Congressman John K. Delaney (Maryland’s 6th House District and founder of the AI Caucus): “(Congress) is largely uninformed on what the future of artificial intelligence (AI) technology will look like and what the actual consequences are likely to be. In this factual vacuum, we run the risk of ultimately adopting at best irrelevant or at worst extreme legislative responses.


  • Check out this article for in-depth thinking about product liability litigation involving autonomous surgical robots. The laws, they are a-changin’. Or at least will be.


  • This article examines the “The Real “Black Box” Dilemma of Legacy Legal Research Tools,” and how AI may help solve the problem. (Today’s top tools yield incomplete and inconsistent results.)


  • Akerman Data Law Center. “Collaborative Disaggregation: Law Firms Can Delight Clients with the Right Technology LegalTech Lever.” Better, faster, cheaper.


  • LawBot X (created by a group of Cambridge University law students) is a competitor to DoNotPay in the A2J arena. Their latest offering is intended to offer law firms a LawBot plugin button on the firm’s website. A potential client clicks the button and starts a customised conversation with LawBot. This may then help the law firm to generate new business as users escalate from asking questions to wanting to speak to a real lawyer at the firm.

This article also explains their plans to launch their own digital currency via an Initial Coin Offering (ICO).


  • At ILTACon17 there will be three panels on AI. This first will be “Will Computers Replace Lawyers? The Myths, Realities and Future of Artificial Intelligence and Automation in the Law.” Here’s an overview.


  • Mark Cuban in New York City’s Central Park at the second annual “OZY Fest:”

Cuban also touched upon artificial intelligence during a one-on-one panel with Watson.

“However much change you saw over the past ten years with the Apple (AAPL) iPhone, that’s nothing,” Cuban continued. Cuban also claims that Montreal and China are “kicking our ass” with artificial intelligence.

Cuban also expressed concern about technology usurping the current standard of everyday business practices, leaving many unemployed.

“There’s going to be a lot of unemployed people replaced with technology and if we don’t start dealing with that now, we’re going to have some real problems,” said Cuban.


  • If you’re generally new to the science of using data to address business problems, here’s a good primer.


And here’s a good primer on where we stand re AI and Visual Data generally.


  • This year’s commencement speech at the Engineering School of Columbia University (given by Dr. Kai-Fu Lee) was titled “An Engineer’s Guide to the Artificial Intelligence Galaxy.” It’s good stuff.

  • Even beyond spotting your friends on Facebook and Google, facial recognition has been getting a LOT of press recently. For instance, the latest iPhone 8 rumors suggest that the fingerprint reader may be replaced by facial recognition. This article discusses its use in eDiscovery to, as with so many manifestations of AI, make things better, faster and cheaper.


  • Chatbots hold a lot of potential to affordably enhance customer/client experience, but this author suggests that some may be moving to this technology before they’re ready.


  • Some big players are investing not just to have AI take over mundane work, but to generally make life better for organics (i.e., people). For instance, yesterday Google announced “PAIR”  (the People + AI Research initiative), looking at the relationship between humans and artificial intelligence in the hopes of making the latter more useful to the former. More details here and here.


  • Other initiatives have been launched to help regulation catch up to AI tech and to generally make sure that AI is behaving appropriately. Among them, the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Fund, helmed by Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society and the MIT Media Lab. The fund was created in part by the Omidyar Fund, Knight Foundation, and LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman. The fund announced its first round of funding today, delivering $7.6 million to a variety of organizations around the world.

Last year Google partnered with Amazon, Facebook, IBM and Microsoft to create a new not-for-profit called the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society. The $27 million fund for artificial intelligence in the public interest was first announced in early January. This article discusses that development and other related investments. The nonprofit‘s primary missions include researching AI, creating guidelines in developing new AI tech and advancing the public’s understanding of AI.

  • Here’s an interesting essay about AI and the future of legal education. “The long game is in doing and teaching what robots really can’t do, or in managing the robots.”


  • Shanghai is testing an artificial intelligence system that helps police officers, prosecutors and judges check the validity of evidence in criminal cases, as part of an effort to prevent wrongful convictions.Over the past month, the system has reviewed 60 cases – including homicides, burglaries and telefraud – and correctly identified 48 flaws in evidence, the Shanghai High People’s Court said on Monday. Ye Qing, president of East China University of Political Science and Law in Shanghai, said that AI can be applied in many ways in the judicial field to help reduce judges’ enormous workload and improve the quality of their work. (Better, faster, cheaper.)


  • Bloomberg Law has relaunched the “Corporate Practice Center” featuring compliance, governance and legal operations. Dewey B Strategic mentions that this will include AI.



  • Finally, might this principle be an improvement on Asimov’s “Three Laws of Robotics?”
  • If you’re new to the idea of AI, check out this 26-minute segment from last night’s CBS 60 Minutes. It provides an accurate and comprehensive overview of the subject, especially appropriate for those not technically-inclined. It does not touch AI in professional services or marketing.CBS
  • Make sure your deal lawyers see this. Goldman has used process reengineering and AI (a fearsome combination). to make IPOs better, faster and cheaper. And this seems to be good for employee loyalty (“hiring unaffected”). And it’s growing. (More about AI and process management here.)
  • “Will Democracy Survive Big Data and Artificial Intelligence?”

According to Scientific American: “…in 2016 we produced as much data as in the entire history of humankind through 2015. Every minute we produce hundreds of thousands of Google searches and Facebook posts. These contain information that reveals how we think and feel. Soon, the things around us, possibly even our clothing, also will be connected with the Internet. It is estimated that in 10 years’ time there will be 150 billion networked measuring sensors, 20 times more than people on Earth. Then, the amount of data will double every 12 hours.”

This is a long, heavy read, but it does a great job detailing the threats posed by these developments and what we should do about them.

  • I know I’ve said it several times, but I can’t say it enough. It’s all about the data — clean, correct, connected, comprehensive data. This article also reiterates my point that you should not start with, “how should I use AI?” You should start with, “what are my business challenges (or goals)?” Then decide whether AI might be part of the solution.
  • Document Management: Here’s a nice case study re RAVN & Rolls Royce.
  • I don’t want to start the week with ALL heavy stuff, so here’s AI that will sort your Legos for you!