• 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.”