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Artificial Intelligence

Legal Consulting Firm Believes Artificial Intelligence Could Replace Lawyers by 2030



According to Jomati Consultants LLP, artificial intelligence and robotics will change the entire legal landscape in just over a decade.

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Tony Williams, the founder of the British-based legal consulting firm, said that law firms will see nearly all their process work handled by artificial intelligence robots. The robotic undertaking will revolutionize the industry, “completely upending the traditional associate leverage model.”

In this report, ‘Civilisation 2030: The Near Future for Law Firms’ we explore what will be the impact on clients and law firms of three key factors that shape the global economy: demographics, the growth of global cities and megacities, as well as the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics into both the industrial and professional sectors. The report closely analysed macro-economic data and key trends then considered how these will develop to 2030.

The report predicts that the artificial intelligence technology will replace all the work involving processing information, along with a wide variety of overturned policies.

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AI bots could foreseeably take over any work with a systemic component that involves the processing of information. That includes low-level knowledge economy work, like due diligence, that is currently performed by very junior lawyers.

Williams also said that these knowledge bots would go beyond the retrieval function of today’s “knowledge management” software and work on the material, impacting associate and paralegals majorly.

While the report leans heavily toward the artificial intelligence technology, not everyone believes every facet of the legal structure can be automated. Ken Chasse, a lawyer at Barrister & Solicitor for more than 48 years, wrote an independent report in October 2014 that says legal advice cannot be automated, by nature.

Also read: The Young Fear the Coming Machine Overlords

Keeping the Human Touch in Artificial Intelligence

AIIn Canada, the legal landscape is faced with proposals for alternative business structures (ABS’s) that allow the ownership of law firms by investors, otherwise non-lawyer people or entities. These ABS’s want legal services to provide non-legal services as well as automate legal services by software applications.

Chasse thinks that services can be automated by the current legal structure itself, without the need to ABS’s or investors.

“All of the new software developments are based upon improving the handcraftsman’s method of law firms delivering routine legal services. But they cannot automate legal advice services.”

The main issue with the current legal structure is that it’s viewed as overpriced and costly, according to the report. But Chasse thinks the current tools at hand are far more cost-efficient with the aid of support services. He claims in his own report that law societies can process, and have processed, more than 5,000 legal opinion services per year by working with support services.

The previous report on artificial intelligence replacing many facets of the legal structure by 2030 mentions the human element as well. Williams says that from a client’s perspective, artificial intelligence will be nothing more than a production tool. The robots proposed could not make decisions based on human factors.

“Clients would greatly value the human input of the firm’s top partners, especially those that could empathize with the client’s needs and show real understanding and human insight into their problems.”

The main purpose of the bots is to save money, according to Williams, as they would simply process minor work, 24 hours a day; never needing to rest or ask for a raise while eliminating jobs that cost $100,000 or more in salary. The work would make legal services more affordable, and partners that were once paid quite well might find themselves with a lowered salary or out of a job, Williams said.

Whether or not artificial intelligence will take out the legal structure is still unknown, as the report was only speculation. The consulting firm did not develop any artificial intelligence technology, or at least did not disclose such information in the report, so it is still unclear whether or not their findings are accurate.

Images from Wikimedia Commons and Shutterstock.

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  1. John M. Kuchta

    January 2, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    And to think, at least half a dozen of my friends just spent upwards of 100K on law school

    • Zack Ballenger

      January 2, 2015 at 10:17 pm

      Maybe they learned how to get out of paying the loans.

      • JWHacket

        January 3, 2015 at 1:43 am

        Nah, they learned how to fall down in a store and sue the owner.

  2. Orion73

    January 2, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    I can see legal research being performed by bots, but when it gets to trial your outcome depends largely on two things: (1) personal relationship with the judge and opposing counsel, and (2) persuading the jury.

    • godforall

      January 2, 2015 at 4:48 pm

      “persuading the jury” in the US maybe

  3. randcraw

    January 2, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    Makes you wonder, could they automate the jury too?

    • Scott Bisset

      January 2, 2015 at 5:05 pm

      Probably, they could automate it all. After all we’re only Biological Machine made by nature there’s no law in the universe saying we can’t make equivalent if not better version of ourselves. Like A.I. computational entities.

      • Citizen 01001011

        January 2, 2015 at 9:50 pm

        On a purely scientific basis, this is far too reductionistic: just because we have a material existence and there are mechanistic aspects to us does not make us mere machines. Our brains have quantum properties that make us far different from any machine.

        Yes, rote parts of legal work can be automated by expert systems — but you cannot replace a lawyer’s intellectual insight, psychological perception, or social skills with an expert system. To think you can demonstrates a lack of understanding of the legal profession (among others) and an unjustified confidence in what A.I. can do. (And I think the term “expert system” is better than “artificial intelligence”; less misleading, if not as sexy…)

        Would you want your contract dispute handled by a fifth-generation Siri app?

  4. John Koleszar

    January 2, 2015 at 11:43 pm

    It’ll be interesting when it replaces judges too….

  5. Kite23

    January 3, 2015 at 3:03 am

    How long til engineer duties are automated? That would be the REAL price cutter.

  6. Andrew

    January 3, 2015 at 3:25 am

    Welcome to the NWO, yeah I’m gonna go and kill myself now brb.

  7. Gilbert Sylvain

    January 4, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    I agree. I will trust A I before a top lawyer. A high class lawyer with empathy? What a joke. Lol lol.

  8. Karianne Knezevic @ Happonomy.

    June 15, 2015 at 11:47 am

    It is very likely that in the near future lawyers will benefit from artificial intelligence to speed up certain procedures, reduce workload and save costs, but when it comes to taking over a lawyers main job; to deliver justice, can we really trust this important role in society to a machine?

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Artificial Intelligence

Bitcoin Giant Bitmain Enters the High Stakes AI Race



Artificial Intelligence

The Sophon, named for a fictional proton-sized supercomputer, could be the tool to train neural networks in data centers worldwide. It is the latest project being developed by Bitmain Technologies Ltd., the bitcoin mining giant that has carved out a dominant position in bitcoin mining.

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Such chips, called application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), could unleash a new wave of distributed computing, according to Michael Bedford Taylor, a University of Washington professor who studies bitcoin mining and chips.

Sophon is due to debut before the end of the year.

Bitmain Has The Know-How

Bitmain has the background to play a role in the expanding artificial intelligence industry. The company designs the silicon that goes in bitcoin mining equipment, assembles the machines and sells them worldwide, in addition to its own bitcoin mining operation and the ones that it manages for other mining pools.

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Bitmain’s founders are not averse to playing a spoiler role.

Jihan Wu, the co-founder of Bitmain, supports the New York Agreement that seeks to double the bitcoin block size under the SegWit2X proposal, a move that some in the bitcoin community view as an attempt to give the miners control over bitcoin.

Some also believe Wu was behind the recent bitcoin split known as bitcoin cash, which at least one of Bitmain’s miners supported, a contention that Wu has denied. Wu points out that he was among the supporters of Bitcoin Unlimited, an earlier bitcoin scaling proposal that did not get activated.

Why Wu Supports Forks

Wu nonetheless said splits should be allowed. He said a fork is inevitable since people in the bitcoin community do not agree on how to best scale bitcoin.

Wu met Micree Zhan, Bitcoin’s co-founder, when Zhan was running DivaIP in 2010, a company that made a device that allowed a user to stream a TV show on a computer screen.

In 2011, Wu needed a chip designer to build a mining operation and approached Zhan. Zhan first designed an ASIC to run SHA-256, the cryptographic calculation used in bitcoin, at maximum efficiency. It took him six months to finish the job. His first rig, Antminer S1, was ready in November 2013.

Bitmain felt the sting of the 2014 Mt. Gox meltdown. But by 2015, bitcoin’s price bottomed out and later recovered. In the meantime, Bitmain introduced its Antminer S5.

Bitmain now employs 600 people in Beijing.

Also read: Bitmain clarifies its ‘bitcoin cash’ fork position

Ready To Take On Google

Bitmain has since developed a deep learning chip with improved efficiency. Users will be able to build their own models on the ASICs, enabling neural networks to deliver results at a faster pace. Google’s DeepMind unit used this technique to train its AlphaGo artificial intelligence.

Bitmain plans to sell the chips to any company looking to train its own neural nets, including firms like Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu. Bitmain could build its own data centers with thousands of deep learning rigs, renting out the computation power to clients the way it does with bitcoin mines.

Professor Taylor said companies like Bitmain that have excelled in bitcoin mining could take on the Googles and Nvidias since they have developed the skills to survive in an ultra-competitive and highly commoditized industry, and have the system level design expertise and the ability to reduce data center costs.

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Artificial Intelligence

Dutch Police Use Augmented Reality to Investigate Crime Scenes



Dutch police are undertaking an experiment to see if augmented reality can help officers at a crime scene, according to the New Scientist.

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Using an AI system video from the body cameras worn on the officers at the scene will relay back to experts who can guide the officers by making virtual notes which the officers will be able to see via a smartphone or head-mounted device.

Dragos Datcu, principal researcher at augmented reality (AR) company Twnkls in Rotterdam, the Netherlands said:

We now have good enough software and hardware to use augmented reality at crime scenes.

What’s great about the new AI system is the fact that experts can get involved with what the crime scene investigators are doing regardless of where they are located.

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So by viewing the footage that is sent from a camera on the police vest, a chemical specialist in one location can view it while a forensic scientist in another location can too. The system is similar to the popular Pokémon Go smartphone game that has grabbed the attention of millions of people around the world.

Not Suitable for Making an Arrest

However, while the technology may prove beneficial in providing an extra pair of eyes for investigating crime scenes, when it comes to making an actual arrest the technology is not suitable for that just yet.

According to Nick Koeman, innovation adviser from the National Police of the Netherlands, the officers undertaking the AI system trial found the extra information distracting.

Of course, some may simply say that ensuring a complete team is at the scene of a crime would be more beneficial for an investigation; however, that is not always possible due to budget cuts and time constraints.

As such the use of an AI system that can cut down on the number of people involved at a crime scene without sacrificing on the required thoroughness could potentially provide the answer that many police departments are searching for.

Not only that, but by reducing the number of people at a scene it cuts the potential possibility of contaminating evidence. The use of AI gives people the chance to assess the evidence and discover additional clues without being at the crime scene.

AI could also help in court cases by helping to recreate a scene for a jury, but as Michael Buerger, professor of criminal justice at Bowling Green State University in Ohio states, legal challenges are likely to raise when augmented reality (AR) is used in the courts.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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Artificial Intelligence

Apple Patent Reveals Siri-Assisted iMessage P2P Payments Platform



Apple has filed a patent application for a “virtual assistant in a communication session.” On first glance, application 14/713,410 might scare developers of chat bots and the like, but Apple is specific in the scope of their claims – Siri, their virtual assistant platform, will be able to directly communicate with either user in an iMessage conversation and then be able to act on the instructions given. The other participant of the conversation will not see messages intended to Siri, nor messages sent from Siri to the user activating her. This is somewhat different from current implementations of chat bots and virtual assistants in chat programs, in that the classical chat bot for, say, IRC, would be accessible by most of the users of the chatroom.

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Siri Sharing Location Information Between iMessage Participants

Source: USPTO

Siri will also be able to privately give information requested of the other party, even if the other party has not provided it. In the above image, Siri lets the user know that everyone will arrive within five minutes, clearly flexing the GPS data available to her from the other user’s iPhone. One would assume a massive update to the iMessage user agreement will be necessary, and the privacy implications of voluntarily allowing an AI to be involved in every conversation are clear. However, as shown, the default is for the user to give permission for their location information to be shared. If Siri is ever compromised, so too could every conversation on the famously secure iMessage protocol.

Siri Scheduling Meetings Between Participants

Source: USPTO

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However, Siri is not involved in conversations until she is summoned. She is added as another participant when the user summons her or, presumably, adds her manually. As seen in the image above, she can schedule meetings in addition to her other functionalities. However, perhaps most interesting, and most appetizing for malicious hackers, is the prospect shown in the below image. Users who have their financial details linked to their Apple account (which is to say, most or all users) are able to send money via iMessage at the stroke of a message.

Siri Faciliating P2P Payments in iMessage

Source: USPTO

As you can see, Siri suggests giving the funds via cash, likely due to the small amount. According to the patent application, Siri first figures out what options are available to both party, and then presents options. Both users appear to use Bank of America and Paypal, but Siri recommends cash. Both the illustrations and their descriptions in the application make it unclear which option the user selects, although the logo to the left of the success message indicates that cash was, indeed, used. Also shown are some security features in the actual sending of funds, including a thumb print scan and password. One would assume that Apple Pay will play a role in all this, and speculation has abounded that the new platform is meant to rival the Venmo system.

About a year ago, reports were in circulation that Apple and banks were discussing the implementation of such a system, and indeed this patent was first filed over a year ago. Presumably it will see ratification within the next year or two, supposing that other major AI developers like Microsoft choose not to contest it on some of its broader implications.

Microsoft and Google would surely oppose paying patent licensing fees to Apple in order to instantiate their own AI peer-to-peer payment systems, and for the most part, the patent application seems to indicate that Apple would then have sole dominion over that field. Therefore, with numerous dogs in the fight including Cortana, the future of this patent and/or the platform itself (failure to acquire a patent would not prohibit Apple from creating the platform, necessarily) is still very much up in the air. More is sure to surface in the coming months, and Hacked will keep you posted.

Images from Shutterstock and USPTO.

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