Two interesting news stories from the US

The New York Times reported on developments in some legal services projects in an interesting article by Tina Rosenberg entitled Legal Aid with a TwistThis covered a number of initiatives which have been funded through the Legal Services Corporation’s Technical Initiative Grants funding programme – in particular, focusing on the potential of automated document assembly. Meanwhile, LegalTechNews was covering a discussion of the impact of artificial intelligence on the legal profession. This reported on a discussion at Stamford by some of the leading people in the field, including Ross Intelligence which is making a name for itself as a lead adapter of IBM’s Watson programme. The tone – and headline – was all about how ‘hot’ AI was as a topic in the law but much of the content seemed rather sober: AI was not the answer to everything seemed the message from a panel of informed speakers: AI may not work ‘for … questions, such as those of nuanced law or positioning a firm in a marketplace’. In addition and rather comfortingly for humans, it seems that machine learning is dependent on the quality of what is input. As one participant put it: ‘The best lawyers to work with machine learning tools are actually good lawyers. … If you have a system that is learning from people, it’s really garbage in, garbage out.’


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