From DSC:
As some of you may know, I’m now working for the WMU-Thomas M. Cooley Law School. My faith gets involved here, but I believe that the LORD wanted me to get involved with:

  • Using technology to increase access to justice (#A2J)
  • Contributing to leveraging the science of learning for the long-term benefit of our students, faculty, and staff
  • Raising awareness regarding the potential pros and cons of today’s emerging technologies
  • Increase the understanding that the legal realm has a looooong way to go to try to get (even somewhat) caught up with the impacts that such emerging technologies can/might have on us.
  • Contributing and collaborating with others to help develop a positive future, not a negative one.

Along these lines…in regards to what’s been happening with law schools over the last few years, I wanted to share a couple of things:

1) An article from The Chronicle of Higher Education by Benjamin Barton:

The Law School Crash

 

2) A response from our President and Dean, James McGrath:Repositioning a Law School for the New Normal

 

From DSC:
I also wanted to personally say that I arrived at WMU-Cooley Law School in 2018, and have been learning a lot there (which I love about my job!).  Cooley employees are very warm, welcoming, experienced, knowledgeable, and professional. Everyone there is mission-driven. My boss, Chris Church, is multi-talented and excellent. Cooley has a great administrative/management team as well.

There have been many exciting, new things happening there. But that said, it will take time before we see the results of these changes. Perseverance and innovation will be key ingredients to crafting a modern legal education — especially in an industry that is just now beginning to offer online-based courses at the Juris Doctor (J.D.) level (i.e., 20 years behind when this began occurring within undergraduate higher education).

My point in posting this is to say that we should ALL care about what’s happening within the legal realm!  We are all impacted by it, whether we realize it or not. We are all in this together and no one is an island — not as individuals, and not as organizations.

We need:

  • Far more diversity within the legal field
  • More technical expertise within the legal realm — not only with lawyers, but with legislators, senators, representatives, judges, others
  • Greater use of teams of specialists within the legal field
  • To offer more courses regarding emerging technologies — and not only for the legal practices themselves but also for society at large.
  • To be far more vigilant in crafting a positive world to be handed down to our kids and grandkids — a dream, not a nightmare. Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.

Still not convinced that you should care? Here are some things on the CURRENT landscapes:

  • You go to drop something off at your neighbor’s house. They have a camera that gets activated.  What facial recognition database are you now on? Did you give your consent to that? No, you didn’t.
  • Because you posted your photo on Facebook, YouTube, Venmo and/or on millions of other websites, your face could be in ClearView AI’s database. Did you give your consent to that occurring? No, you didn’t.
  • You’re at the airport and facial recognition is used instead of a passport. Whose database was that from and what gets shared? Did you give your consent to that occurring? Probably not, and it’s not easy to opt-out either.
  • Numerous types of drones, delivery bots, and more are already coming onto the scene. What will the sidewalks, streets, and skies look like in your neighborhood in the near future? Is that how you want it? Did you give your consent to that happening? No, you didn’t.
  • …and on and on it goes.

Addendum — speaking of islands!

Palantir CEO: Silicon Valley can’t be on ‘Palo Alto island’ — Big Tech must play by the rules — from cnbc.com by Jessica Bursztynsky

Excerpt:

Palantir Technologies co-founder and CEO Alex Karp said Thursday the core problem in Silicon Valley is the attitude among tech executives that they want to be separate from United States regulation.

“You cannot create an island called Palo Alto Island,” said Karp, who suggested tech leaders would rather govern themselves. “What Silicon Valley really wants is the canton of Palo Alto. We have the United States of America, not the ‘United States of Canton,’ one of which is Palo Alto. That must change.”

“Consumer tech companies, not Apple, but the other ones, have basically decided we’re living on an island and the island is so far removed from what’s called the United States in every way, culturally, linguistically and in normative ways,” Karp added.

 

Juris announces launch of AI powered software to help people solve their own legal problems — from finance.yahoo.com

Excerpt:

Legal technology company Juris has announced the launch of their service, DepositLetter, an online tool built to recover illegally withheld security deposits on behalf of renters. Customers complete a five-minute online interview and Juris does the rest automatically to show their former landlord that they know their rights under the law, to demand their money back, and even threaten to sue. DepositLetter is the first service built on the Juris Virtual Legal Assistant platform, a law-powered A.I. expert system made to help people solve their own legal problems.

Also see:

Millennial lawyers demand mobility. Are law firms ready to provide it? from law.com by Alex Babin
Like it or not, remote work is coming to the legal world. Even among law firms, the development of policies to accommodate work performed away from the office appears to be a notable trend.

Excerpt:

Like it or not, remote work is coming to the legal world. Even among law firms, where I am repeatedly reminded that the adoption of technology tends to lag behind other workplaces and industries, the development of policies to accommodate work performed away from the office appears to be a notable trend. In part, this is being driven by increasing numbers of millennials in the legal workforce. According to a 2019 Deloitte survey, nearly 75% of millennials think a “work-from-home” or “work remotely” policy is important. But the changing perspective is also very likely a function of a broader transition in the legal industry toward technology-enabled efficiency.

 

The Future of Lawyers: Legal Tech, AI, Big Data And Online Courts — from forbes.com by Bernard Marr

Excerpts:

In his brand new book Online Courts and the Future of Justice, Richard argues that technology is going to bring about a fascinating decade of change in the legal sector and transform our court system. Although automating our old ways of working plays a part in this, even more, critical is that artificial intelligence and technology will help give more individuals access to justice.

The first generation is the idea that people who use the court system submit evidence and arguments to the judge online or through some form of electronic communication.

The second generation of using technology to transform the legal system would be what Richard calls “outcome thinking” to use technology to help solve disputes without requiring lawyers or the traditional court system.

Some of the biggest obstacles to an online court system are the political will to bring about such a transformation, the support of judges and lawyers, funding, as well as the method we’d apply. For example, decisions will need to be made whether the online system would be used for only certain cases or situations.

Ultimately, we have a grave access-to-justice problem. Technology can help improve our outcomes and give people a way to resolve public disputes in ways that previously weren’t possible. While this transformation might not solve all the struggles with the legal system or the access-to-justice issue, it can offer a dramatic improvement.

 

From DSC:
If you are using a tool like Cisco Webex in your school, consider implementing the idea below.
I’d like to thank Mr. Steve Grant and Mr. Nelson Miller from the WMU-Cooley Law School for their work in implementing/recommending this approach.

If you are using a tool like Cisco Webex, you can use it to share content to displays, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. If the professor starts a Cisco Webex Meeting Center session using their own personal room, the students can then join that meeting via their devices. (To eliminate noise and confusion — as well as to reduce bandwidth — the students should mute their microphones and choose not to send the video from their webcams.)

If you were doing a think-pair-share, for example, and you really liked what a certain pair of students had going on, one of the students could share their work with the rest of the class. By doing so, whatever was going on on that student’s device could be displayed by any projectors in the room, as well as on any other devices that were connected to the Cisco Webex Meeting Room.

“So you could project any student’s work as students proceed with in-class exercises. Projecting student work adds another level of accountability, excitement, and concentration to in-class exercises.” 

*********

Also, using the Cisco Webex Meeting Center in your face-to-face classroom not only opens up that sort of collaboration channel, but, via the chat feature, it can also open up a running backchannel to draw out your more introverted students, or those students who have questions but don’t want to have the spotlight thrown on them. 

*********

 
 

CES 2020: Finding reality in a deluge of utopia — from web-strategist.com by Jeremiah Owyang

Excerpts:

One of my strategies is to look past the products that were announced, and instead find the new technologies that will shed light on which products will emerge such as sensors and data types.

The trick to approaching CES: Look for what creates the data, then analyze how it will be used, therein lies the power/leverage/business model of the future.

Sharp’s augmented windows give us an interesting glimpse of what retail could look like if every window was a transparent screen…

Rivian, the new electric truck company, which is funded by both Ford and Amazon was featured at the Amazon booth, with a large crowd, each wheel has an independent motor and it’s Alexa integrated – watch out Cybertruck.

Caution: “Data leakage” (where your data ends up in places you didn’t expect) is frightening, and people will start to care. The amount of devices present, that offer data collection to unknown companies in unknown countries is truly astounding. Both from a personal, business, and national security perspective, consumers and businesses alike really don’t know the ramifications of all of this data sharing.

Also see:

 

DC: Precursor to a next gen learning platform…? Another piece is falling into place.

 

How AI is disrupting the legal tech industry — from itproportal.com by Derek Chau
Law firms will benefit from a growing ability to deliver high-value, strategic services while leveraging the ability of AI to execute lower value tasks.

Excerpt:

As increasingly complex AI solutions emerge, the technology continues to capture imaginations across the legal community. AI has become a catalyst for change within the legal ecosystem. And as platforms become more sophisticated, companies have begun to tap into ever-expanding automation and scalability.

Potential impacts/applications include:

  • Legal research (due diligence)
  • Predicting legal outcomes
  • Contract management
  • Intellectual property law

This reality is driven by the democratisation of legal services as a result of AI integrations. The movement is poised to lower the costs associated with corporate transactions, legal research, IP transactions, and related services. As such, law firms will benefit from a growing ability to deliver high-value, strategic services while leveraging the ability of AI to execute lower value tasks.

 

Legal Tech’s Predictions for Artificial Intelligence in 2020 — from law.com by Zach Warren
We may not have robot lawyers, but lawyers and technologists agree that artificial intelligence will have a major impact on the legal profession in 2020.

Excerpts:

Alex Babin, CEO, Zero: “The biggest gains from automating legal practices will be time saved and improved workflow efficiencies as the AI ‘takes over’ more laborious tasks including litigation support, email, e-discovery, and the use of databases for case management. Lawyers will begin to trust in this process, letting AI perform these basic tasks such as auto-filing document and email for compliance. AI will enhance corporate and regulatory reporting and improves contract creation and management.”

Scott Forman, shareholder, Littler Mendelson and founder of Littler CaseSmart and Littler onDemand: “Data analytics and AI have already fundamentally changed the delivery of legal services, but I expect 2020 to bring a greater understanding of how these technologies enhance, rather than overtake, the work of lawyers. While robots and technology will never replace lawyers, they provide data and insight enabling lawyers to do their jobs faster and better. This includes automating aspects of the legal process—so that lawyers can focus on top-of-the-pyramid work—as well as synthesizing and serving up information that guides litigation strategy, identifies potential areas of risk and moves toward predicting legal outcomes.”

 

 

Online courts, the future of justice and being bold in 2020 — from abajournal.com by Ari Kaplan

Excerpt:

Ari Kaplan: How do you define online courts?

Richard Susskind: I describe two aspects of online courts in the book. The first is ‘online judging,’ which supports the idea that human judges, not artificial intelligence, should decide cases, not in a physical courtroom or through oral hearings but by the submission of evidence and arguments by the parties online. It is an asynchronous hearing system where the parties pass messages and arguments to the judge remotely and receive responses in kind. I am entirely open to the argument that this is not suitable for all cases, but there are many low-volume matters for which it is simply disproportionate to take the day off work or for lawyers to take up a court’s time to resolve relatively modest difficulties and differences. The second aspect of online courts is, in a way, more controversial. I call it ‘extended courts’ and suggest that it should be part of the court function to provide a range of tools to help the parties understand their rights and obligations. These resources could help them formulate arguments, gather and organize evidence, and provide ways for the parties to resolve disputes with one another similar to online alternative dispute resolution. This combination of judges making decisions online together with an extended court structure will greatly increase access to justice.

 

Addendum on 1/7/20:

Online Courts and the Future of Justice from State Courts on Vimeo.

 

 

Learning from the living class room

 

7 Artificial Intelligence Trends to Watch in 2020 — from interestingengineering.com by Christopher McFadden

Excerpts:

Per this article, the following trends were listed:

  1. Computer Graphics will greatly benefit from AI
  2. Deepfakes will only get better, er, worse
  3. Predictive text should get better and better
  4. Ethics will become more important as time goes by
  5. Quantum computing will supercharge AI
  6. Facial recognition will appear in more places
  7. AI will help in the optimization of production pipelines

Also, this article listed several more trends:

According to sources like The Next Web, some of the main AI trends for 2020 include:

  • The use of AI to make healthcare more accurate and less costly
  • Greater attention paid to explainability and trust
  • AI becoming less data-hungry
  • Improved accuracy and efficiency of neural networks
  • Automated AI development
  • Expanded use of AI in manufacturing
  • Geopolitical implications for the uses of AI

Artificial Intelligence offers great potential and great risks for humans in the future. While still in its infancy, it is already being employed in some interesting ways.

According to sources like Forbes, some of the next “big things” in technology include, but are not limited to:

  • Blockchain
  • Blockchain As A Service
  • AI-Led Automation
  • Machine Learning
  • Enterprise Content Management
  • AI For The Back Office
  • Quantum Computing AI Applications
  • Mainstreamed IoT

Also see:

Artificial intelligence predictions for 2020: 16 experts have their say — from verdict.co.uk by Ellen Daniel

Excerpts:

  • Organisations will build in processes and policies to prevent and address potential biases in AI
  • Deepfakes will become a serious threat to corporations
  • Candidate (and employee) care in the world of artificial intelligence
  • AI will augment humans, not replace them
  • Greater demand for AI understanding
  • Ramp up in autonomous vehicles
  • To fully take advantage of AI technologies, you’ll need to retrain your entire organisation
  • Voice technologies will infiltrate the office
  • IT will run itself while data acquires its own DNA
  • The ethics of AI
  • Health data and AI
  • AI to become an intrinsic part of robotic process automation (RPA)
  • BERT will open up a whole new world of deep learning use cases

The hottest trend in the industry right now is in Natural Language Processing (NLP). Over the past year, a new method called BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) has been developed for designing neural networks that work with text. Now, we suddenly have models that will understand the semantic meaning of what’s in text, going beyond the basics. This creates a lot more opportunity for deep learning to be used more widely.

 

 

Get Smart About Going Online: Choosing the Right Model to Deliver Digital Programming — from evolllution.com by Charles Kilfoye
A veteran online educator looks at the benefits and pitfalls for each of the three main ways to launch an online program.

Excerpt:

Online learning is making headlines again with big players such as University of Massachusetts and California Community College Online launching high profile online initiatives recently. Some would argue that if you haven’t made it in online education already, you’ve missed your opportunity.

However, my sense is it’s never too late. You just have to be smart about it. It all boils down to asking yourself the basic problem-solving questions of Why, What and How to determine if online education is right for your institution. To illustrate my point, I will briefly discuss major considerations you should make when exploring an online strategy and I will examine the pros and cons of the three most common models of delivering online programs in higher education today.

Be aware that differentiated pricing may indicate to prospective students that one format is more valuable or better than another. My personal opinion is that a degree earned online should be considered the same degree as one earned on-ground. It is the same program, same faculty, same admissions requirements, same relevance and rigor, so why not the same cost?

 

From DSC:
Regarding the topic of pricing, it would be my hope that we could offer online-based programs at significantly discounted prices. This is why I think it will be the larger higher education providers that ultimately win out — or a brand new player in the field that uses a next gen learning platform along with a different business model (see below article) — as they can spread their development costs over a great number of students/courses/program offerings.

If the current players in higher ed don’t find a way to do this (and some players have already figured this out and are working on delivering it), powerful alternatives will develop — especially as the public’s perspective on the value of higher education continues to decline.

 

Learning from the living class room

I’d also like to hear Charles’ thoughts about pricing after reading Brandon’s article below:

If it’s more expensive, it must be better. That, of course, has been the prevailing wisdom among parents and students when it comes to college. But that wisdom has now been exposed as an utter myth according to a new study published in The Journal of Consumer Affairs. It turns out the cost of a college does not predict higher alumni ratings about the quality of their education. In fact, the opposite is true: total cost of attendance predicts lower ratings.

Quality matters. Price does not. Quality and price are not the same things. And this all has enormous implications for the industry and its consumers.

 

 

Art-filled journeys into the future — methods of futures education for children in lower stage comprehensive school — from kultus.fi by Ilpo Rybatzki and Otto Tähkäpää

Art-filled futures education

 

See this PDF file which contains the following excerpt:

In art, futures literacy plays a significant role. Art has the ability to point elsewhere; to fool and mess around with things and shake up conventions without needing to achieve measurable benefits (Varto, 2008). Art ensures a solid background for imagining alternative worlds. It is important to support a permissive atmosphere that supports experimentation! From the perspective of art pedagogy, activities focus on the idea of art experience as meeting place (Pääjoki, 2004) where people can see themselves in a new light beside another person’s thoughts and imagination. Strengthening futures literacy means supporting transformative learning that aims for change. Through this type of learning, we can question norms, roles, identities and the concept of what is ‘normal’ (Lehtonen et al., 2018).

When discussing the future, we are always discussing values: what kind of future is desirable for any one person? Artistic activity can produce materials through which human meanings can be communicated from one person to another and questions about values in life can be discussed (Varto, 2008; Valkeapää, 2012). Encounters create opportunities for dialogue and enriching one’s perspectives. Important aspects include creating safe settings, the individual expression of the participants, the courage to open up and thrown oneself into the centre of an experience, as well as the courage to question or even completely let go of presumptions. In the age of the environmental crisis, art has a critical role in all of society. We cannot solve difficult problems using the same kind of thinking that created the problems in the first place.

 

Don’t trust AI until we build systems that earn trust — from economist.com
Progress in artificial intelligence belies a lack of transparency that is vital for its adoption, says Gary Marcus, coauthor of “Rebooting AI”

Excerpts:

Mr Marcus argues that it would be foolish of society to put too much stock in today’s AI techniques since they are so prone to failures and lack the transparency that researchers need to understand how algorithms reached their conclusions.

As part of The Economist’s Open Future initiative, we asked Mr Marcus about why AI can’t do more, how to regulate it and what teenagers should study to remain relevant in the workplace of the future.

Trustworthy AI has to start with good engineering practices, mandated by laws and industry standards, both of which are currently largely absent. Too much of AI thus far has consisted of short-term solutions, code that gets a system to work immediately, without a critical layer of engineering guarantees that are often taken for granted in other field. The kinds of stress tests that are standard in the development of an automobile (such as crash tests and climate challenges), for example, are rarely seen in AI. AI could learn a lot from how other engineers do business.

The assumption in AI has generally been that if it works often enough to be useful, then that’s good enough, but that casual attitude is not appropriate when the stakes are high. It’s fine if autotagging people in photos turns out to be only 90 percent reliable—if it is just about personal photos that people are posting to Instagram—but it better be much more reliable when the police start using it to find suspects in surveillance photos.

 

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