My thanks to a friend for causing me to further reflect on this article: “Can computers ever replace the classroom?” [Beard]


From DSC:
I’d like to thank Mr. Eric Osterberg — a fraternity brother and friend of mine — for sending me the following article. I wrote back to him. After thanking Eric for the article, I said:

Such an article makes me reflect on things — which is always a good thing for me to try to see my blindspots and/or to think about the good and bad of things. Technologies are becoming more powerful and integrated into our lives — for better at times and for worse at other times.

I’m wondering how the legal realm can assist and/or help create a positive future for societies throughout the globe…any thoughts?


Can computers ever replace the classroom? — from theguardian.com by Alex Beard
With 850 million children worldwide shut out of schools, tech evangelists claim now is the time for AI education. But as the technology’s power grows, so too do the dangers that come with it. 

Excerpts:

But it’s in China, where President Xi Jinping has called for the nation to lead the world in AI innovation by 2030, that the fastest progress is being made. In 2018 alone, Li told me, 60 new AI companies entered China’s private education market. Squirrel AI is part of this new generation of education start-ups. The company has already enrolled 2 million student users, opened 2,600 learning centres in 700 cities across China, and raised $150m from investors.

The supposed AI education revolution is not here yet, and it is likely that the majority of projects will collapse under the weight of their own hype.

The point, in short, is that AI doesn’t have to match the general intelligence of humans to be useful – or indeed powerful. This is both the promise of AI, and the danger it poses.

It was a reminder that Squirrel AI’s platform, like those of its competitors worldwide, doesn’t have to be better than the best human teachers – to improve people’s lives, it just needs to be good enough, at the right price, to supplement what we’ve got. The problem is that it is hard to see technology companies stopping there. For better and worse, their ambitions are bigger. “We could make a lot of geniuses,” Li told me.

 
 

Evaluating Legal Services: The Need for a Quality Movement and Standard Measures of Quality and Value – Chapter in Research Handbook on Big Data Law — from legaltechlever.com by Daniel Linna Jr.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

How do we evaluate the quality and value of legal services? For example, if we compare two proposed contracts for a commercial agreement, how do we determine which contract is of higher quality? How do we determine the total value produced by the process of drafting, negotiating, and finalizing each contract? Would our answers change if some or all of the services are produced by a software application? If a software application is used, how would we evaluate the quality of any training data inputs, the development process, and the outputs of the software application? Would our assessment of the quality and value of the software application change if the software application is used to serve individuals who would otherwise go without a lawyer?

These are just some of the questions that I discuss in this draft book chapter, Evaluating Legal Services: The Need for a Quality Movement and Standard Measures of Quality and Value, the final version of which will be available in the Research Handbook on Big Data Law edited by Dr. Roland Vogl, forthcoming 2020, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.

With this chapter, I aim to demonstrate the need for a quality movement and standard measures of quality and value and highlight some of the research and resources. My goal is to catalyze debate, rigorous research, and sustained action. If we do not undertake this work, we risk squandering abundant opportunities to improve legal services, legal systems, justice, and the law itself.

 

 

Another legal item of note:

 

 

Georgetown Law announces two new degrees, including nation’s first “Master of Law and Technology” Program for non-lawyers — from law.georgetown.edu
Classes will start fall 2020 for new program designed to equip technologists, Hill staff, civil society advocates and other professionals with a foundation in technology law and policy

From DSC:
The legal realm will likely need to get rid of that phrase — “non-lawyers.”

 

AI laws are coming — from forbes.com by Kathleen Walch

Excerpt:

The pace of adoption for AI and cognitive technologies continues unabated with widespread, worldwide, rapid adoption. Adoption of AI by enterprises and organizations continues to grow, as evidenced by a recent survey showing growth across each of the seven patterns of AI. However, with this growth of adoption comes strain as existing regulation and laws struggle to deal with emerging challenges. As a result, governments around the world are moving quickly to ensure that existing laws, regulations, and legal constructs remain relevant in the face of technology change and can deal with new, emerging challenges posed by AI.

Research firm Cognilytica recently published a report on Worldwide AI Laws and Regulations that explores the latest legal and regulatory actions taken by countries around the world across nine different AI-relevant areas.

 

 

Why law librarians are so important in a data-driven world — from Oxford University Press (blog.oup.com) by Femi Cadmus

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Looking ahead, the integration of technology in the work of law librarians will only increase. Over 90% of government law library employees say that artificial intelligence or machine learning has already affected their workflow by automating routine tasks. Over a quarter of law firms or corporations now have at least one active artificial intelligence initiative. Of those, more than half involve the library. It is therefore not surprising that the skills law library employees plan to develop in the next two years include artificial intelligence or machine learning, data analytics, and blockchain (in that order).

 

38 states have adopted the duty of technology competence — from lawsitesblog.com by Bob Ambrogi

Excerpt:

In 2012, something happened that I called a sea change in the legal profession: The American Bar Association formally approved a change to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct to make clear that lawyers have a duty to be competent not only in the law and its practice, but also in technology.

More specifically, the ABA’s House of Delegates voted to amend Comment 8 to Model Rule 1.1, which pertains to competence, to read as follows:

Maintaining Competence
To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology, engage in continuing study and education and comply with all continuing legal education requirements to which the lawyer is subject. (Emphasis added.)

 

“Strategy is about folding the future back – it’s not about pushing the present forward!”

Vijay Govindarajan, keynote speaker
at today’s Law 2030 event;
also see the recording here

Law 2030

You can also find video of Day 1 here and Day 2 here.
The PowerPoint slides from each presenter are available at https://www.law2030.org.

From DSC:
The keynote at this morning’s Law 2030 event was done by Vijay Govindarajan, Coxe Distinguished Professor at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business. Vijay offered up a great presentation that reminded me to:

  • THINK BIG!
  • Establish a sizable possibility gap!
  • Have unrealistic goals!
  • Don’t limit your future accomplishments with current expectations!
  • Strive to live to your potential!

His keynote made me think of this graphic from a while back:

We need to think big!

Below is one of the slides from his talk:

Also see the Law2030 hashtag over on Twitter.

 

The 2020 ABA Techshow

Also see:

EU Proposes Strict Regulations for AI — from futuretech360.com by John K. Waters

Excerpt:

The European Union this week unveiled its first proposed regulations for artificial intelligence (AI) technology, along with a strategy for handling personal digital data. The new regs provide guidance around such AI use cases as autonomous vehicles and biometric IDs.

Published online by the European Commission, the proposed regulations would apply to “high-risk” uses of AI in areas such as health care, transportation and criminal justice. The criteria to determine risk would include such considerations as whether a person might get hurt, say, by a self-driving car or a medical device, and how much influence a human has on an AI’s decision in areas like job recruiting and law enforcement.

 

 From DSC:
Here are two other example of AI’s further integration into the legal realm:

Casetext is Automating Litigation — from businesswire.com
Casetext’s new litigation automation technology, Compose, automates substantive legal work — and a substantial number of billable hours

Excerpt:

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Casetext, the legal technology company known for its groundbreaking A.I. legal research platform, today announces a new product that will define litigation automation: Compose. Compose, which automates the first draft of a legal brief, is poised to disrupt the $437 billion1 legal services industry and fundamentally change our understanding of what types of professional work are uniquely human.


UC Irvine School of Law To Integrate Blue J Legal’s AI-Enabled Tax Platform into Curriculum
— from businesswire.com
First of its kind initiative aims to prepare graduate students for careers in tax law where AI will be integral to the decision-making process

The joint effort aims to demonstrate why advanced technological integration in higher education is important and how to leverage it, specifically in tax law.

 

 

It is high time to reform the rules that govern the practice of law — from legalservicestoday.com by Ralph Baxter

Excerpt:

Current regulations create a closed system
The current regulatory model has created a closed legal services system. It limits who can participate in legal services in two fundamental ways.

First, only those who undergo the time and expense of law school and become licensed as “lawyers” are permitted to deliver legal services. It is a crime for anyone to do work that falls within the deliberately vague definition of “the practice of law” unless they have a lawyer license.

Second, only lawyers are permitted to participate in the financial rewards of a law firm. Investment by others is forbidden, as is sharing profits within a law firm with personnel who are not lawyers.

The consequences of these limitations are clear and profound. The first limitation causes the cost of legal service to be much higher than it otherwise would be; it also causes the law firm workforce to have less diverse backgrounds (as other businesses have) resulting in less creativity and agility.

The second limitation limits the capital law firms can raise, which, in turn, makes it harder for them to invest in new processes and technologies. The most successful firms in this closed system command high enough fees that they can generate their own capital. The majority of firms, however, would benefit from greater access to capital. This is particularly acute for firms which serve individuals and small businesses; in these practices the economic stakes of matters are relatively small, warranting lower fees, making the need for outside capital even greater.

Also see:

 

Legal technology, today and tomorrow: Don’t get left behind — from law.com by Jenn Betts
Staying on top of these developments is no longer enough to “future proof” your practice or your firm. It is imperative to look forward to avoid falling behind.

Excerpt:

Among other kinds of disruptive AI-powered tools already on the market are:

  • Artificial intelligence-enabled document review tools and platforms (which make review of discovery materials quicker and cheaper);
  • Artificial intelligence-enabled tools assisting organizations with selecting outside counsel (which promise more data-driven assessments of “fit” between the firm, client and case);
  • Artificial intelligence patent search engines (which make patent searching easier and more accurate); and
  • Artificial intelligence-powered systems delivering early-stage litigation services, such as drafting answers to complaints, discovery requests and responses, and litigation timelines (which decreases client costs and delivers greater efficiencies).

These tools raise interesting (and largely unanswered) practical and ethical issues relating to the scope of the practice of law, AI disclosure obligations to clients, confidentiality issues regarding client data and the necessity of independent judgment by attorneys.

The pace of development of AI and other advanced technologies is moving at an unprecedented pace.

From DSC:
I agree. The pace of change has changed. It’s now an exponential pace of change. This new pace is having an increasing impact on the legal industry.

 

ABA passes access to justice measure after opposition fades — from news.bloomberglaw.com by Sam Skolnik

  • New York State Bar Association president lauds “powerfully important moment”
  • Vote followed several days of sometimes tense negotiations

Excerpt:

The American Bar Association passed a resolution encouraging state bars to explore innovative approaches to access to justice by voice vote on Monday, after several days of behind-the-scenes negotiations during which its passage seemed unclear.

Proponents of Resolution 115 prevailed in the House of Delegates vote during the ABA midyear meeting in Austin, Texas, in part because they were willing to adjust the proposal’s language to make it more palatable to detractors who had been concerned about its possible impact on legal industry independence. The House of Delegates is the policy-making arm of the ABA, composed of nearly 600 members, two-thirds of whom represent state, local, and specialty-focused bar groups.

Also see:

 

Deloitte Legal to work with academic tech venture group — from artificiallawyer.com

Excerpt:

Deloitte Legal is to collaborate with Conception X, a nine-month programme designed to train PhD students in technology entrepreneurship and to support them in building ventures based on their original research during their degree.

Conception X accepts applications across several research areas including artificial intelligence, machine learning, genetic engineering, blockchain and quantum computing. The first two cohorts, prior to the link-up with Deloitte, have seen the start-ups incorporated by PhD teams collectively raising a total of £5m and generating revenues of £2m.

 

 

Online tool will help ‘Spot’ legal issues that people face — from .pewtrusts.org
Artificial intelligence can boost non-lawyers’ ability to navigate civil court system

Excerpt:

People looking for information on legal questions often start their searches online, without a good handle on the terminology. Today’s machine learning tools can help put nonlegal phrasing into context, using artificial intelligence to match people’s situations with specific legal issues, supplying accurate information and connections to potential services.

A team at the Legal Innovation and Technology (LIT) Lab at Suffolk University Law School in Boston, with funding from The Pew Charitable Trusts, is building an application programming interface, or API—known as Spot—that can serve as a computerized issue spotter. Spot could be used by legal services websites and others to help lay users, and its functionality will improve as it accumulates more data and real-life examples.

 

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