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Introducing the artificially intelligent attorney

Econocom 21 Jun 2016

What’s ROSS’s job with BakerHostetler, one of the leading law firms in the United States? He works on bankruptcy cases, which requires wading through thousands of legal documents to find the answers to lawyers’ questions. ROSS is just an ordinary employee – except he doesn’t have lunch with his co-workers, or gossip with them by the coffee machine. Because ROSS is a piece of artificial intelligence software. We found out more from TechInsider.


According to Ross Intelligence, the company that developed this next-generation legal associate, ROSS can understand questions posed in natural language and is programmed to answer them by ploughing through thousands of the legal documents lawyers use to build their cases.


Unlike a search engine, Ross doesn’t come up with a list of results but a “highly-relevant” answer, gleaned from legal texts as well as some examples of cases.


Another useful skill ROSS has is the ability to keep the lawyers up-to-date with the latest rulings: it can even tell them whether a court ruling could be useful for a particular case an associate is working on.



a multi-tasking ai device to assist attorneys


Like most AI tools, ROSS also has machine learning  capabilities enabling it to refine its search results so that they match the requests more closely. All these capabilities save valuable time for the law firm.


For legal work invariably involves extensive, costly and time-consuming research, which is often delegated to junior associates. Which means of course that ROSS is a potential threat to human employees…



Ai: the FUTURe EMPLOYEe of the month?


For whilst ROSS, which is built on Watson, IBM’s cognitive technology, is for the moment just an IT tool that helps out around fifty attorneys specialising in bankruptcy cases, it’s not the first time artificial intelligence has found its way into the corporate world.


In 2014, as Business Insider reports, a Hong Kong venture capital firm called Deep Knowledge appointed an algorithm to its board of directors to make investment recommendations. But there’s no risk of the workplace being taken over by robots anytime soon: robots may offer valuable help processing reams to data, but the decisions are always made by humans.



=> Also on our blog: Who will the next Zuckerberg be? Data may have the answer

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