From DSC:
I’ll say it again, just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.

From the article below…we can see another unintended consequence is developing on society’s landscapes. I really wish the 20 and 30 somethings that are being hired by the big tech companies — especially at Amazon, Facebook, Google, Apple, and Microsoft — who are developing these things would ask themselves:

  • “Just because we can develop this system/software/application/etc., SHOULD we be developing it?”
  • What might the negative consequences be? 
  • Do the positive contributions outweigh the negative impacts…or not?

To colleges professors and teachers:
Please pass these thoughts onto your students now, so that this internal questioning/conversations begin to take place in K-16.


Report: Colleges Must Teach ‘Algorithm Literacy’ to Help Students Navigate Internet — from edsurge.com by Rebecca Koenig

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

If the Ancient Mariner were sailing on the internet’s open seas, he might conclude there’s information everywhere, but nary a drop to drink.

That’s how many college students feel, anyway. A new report published this week about undergraduates’ impressions of internet algorithms reveals students are skeptical of and unnerved by tools that track their digital travels and serve them personalized content like advertisements and social media posts.

And some students feel like they’ve largely been left to navigate the internet’s murky waters alone, without adequate guidance from teachers and professors.

Researchers set out to learn “how aware students are about their information being manipulated, gathered and interacted with,” said Alison Head, founder and director of Project Information Literacy, in an interview with EdSurge. “Where does that awareness drop off?”

They found that many students not only have personal concerns about how algorithms compromise their own data privacy but also recognize the broader, possibly negative implications of tools that segment and customize search results and news feeds.

 

From DSC:
Very disturbing that citizens had no say in this. Legislators, senators, representatives, lawyers, law schools, politicians, engineers, programmers, professors, teachers, and more…please reflect upon our current situation here. How can we help?


The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy as We Know It — from nytimes.com by Kashmir Hill
A little-known start-up helps law enforcement match photos of unknown people to their online images — and “might lead to a dystopian future or something,” a backer says.

His tiny company, Clearview AI, devised a groundbreaking facial recognition app. You take a picture of a person, upload it and get to see public photos of that person, along with links to where those photos appeared. The system — whose backbone is a database of more than three billion images that Clearview claims to have scraped from Facebook, YouTube, Venmo and millions of other websites — goes far beyond anything ever constructed by the United States government or Silicon Valley giants.

 

Excerpts:

“But without public scrutiny, more than 600 law enforcement agencies have started using Clearview in the past year…”

Clearview’s app carries extra risks because law enforcement agencies are uploading sensitive photos to the servers of a company whose ability to protect its data is untested.

 

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.

 

The LexBlog Excellence Awards 2019 Winners

Categories

Awards will be presented for outstanding posts in the following categories. Unless stated otherwise, posts can relate to any subject or area, provided it is related to the practice or theory of law. The post must have been published in 2019.

  • Best News or Trend Analysis: For outstanding analysis of legal news, developments or trends.
  • Best Legal Analysis: For outstanding analysis and explication of a judicial opinion, legislative development or regulatory development.
  • Best Breaking News Post: For outstanding same-day or second-day reporting of a legal news development.
  • Best Explanatory Post: For outstanding writing in helping the reader comprehend the impact or significance of a legal story, development or trend.
  • Best ‘How-To’ Post: For outstanding writing in helping the reader understand how to handle a legal matter or issue.
  • Best Commentary/Advice for Legal Professionals: For outstanding writing offering commentary or advice for legal professionals on the business or practice of law.
 
 

Why the traditional US model of educating tomorrow’s lawyers must change — from iam-media.com by Megan Carpenter
Disruption is increasingly affecting the legal services industry but legal education is not evolving fast enough. Greater specialisation in areas like IP, argues Franklin Pierce School of Law dean Megan Carpenter, could improve the training of lawyers and non-lawyers alike

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

But the legal education we need today is not the one-size-fits-all model of the past. For 150 years, law schools and the legal services industry have combined to make legal education a precious commodity, bundled in a very specific way. Like the cable industry or print news media of yore, the education that qualifies people for the legal profession in the US has been one-size-fits-all, without regard to particular practice areas or specialisations and without responding to the diversification of the legal services market.

The legal profession should take a page from the playbook of the medical profession here. Under “healthcare occupations”, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook lists 46 professions, from doctors and nurses to physician assistants, medical extenders, technologists and technicians. Yet, under “Legal Occupations”, the BLS Handbook lists only five positions. By failing to adapt like the medical industry has to a variety of roles for different types of legal professionals, including education that fits those roles, the haves and have-nots of legal knowledge have been defined in a way that is not sustainable and fails to reflect the needs of the marketplace.

Law schools should not resist the expanding market for alternative legal service providers and legal tech; rather, they should lead the charge to provide legal education to people who need it, even if in a different form than such education has taken in the past. There should be more undergraduate and community-college programmes that provide appropriate legal training. The University of Arizona College of Law launched the first undergraduate bachelor degree in law in the US in collaboration with the broader university and other schools should do the same.

 

From DSC:
I’ve also been thinking about the need for more specializations within law schools, the legal realm, and in the Bar Exam itself.

 

From DSC:
In the future, will this be happening more in the United States? I’d say yes, most likely. I’d also add consumers to this new type of online-based offering as well.


LawBite is an online legal platform powering a fully SRA regulated UK law firm providing fast, expert, affordable legal services for businesses of all sizes.”

In the future, will this be happening more in the United States?

 

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.

 

‘Fundamental shift’ is transforming the delivery of legal services, new report concludes — from abajournal.com by Debra Cassens Weiss

Excerpt:

“Revolutionary changes are afoot” in the market for legal services, according to a new report.

Clients are actively managing their relationships with outside counsel, nonlaw competitors are gaining ground, and law firms are responding to market changes in innovative ways, the report says.

The 2020 Report on the State of the Legal Market was released Monday by Georgetown Law’s Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession and Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute. It is available for download here.

However, taking that view is seeing only one side of the story. Over this same period, there has been mounting evidence that the underlying model itself is changing, that clients, non-law firm competitors, and even many law firms are now operating with very different assumptions about the role law firm services should play in the legal ecosystem and how such services should be delivered. In the past year or so, this evidence has grown to the point that it seems apparent that a fundamental shift is now well underway.

Also see:

Lori Lorenzo, research and insights leader of chief legal officer program, Deloitte: “Catching-up and keeping-up with tech advancements for the legal function will remain a top goal for chief legal officers in 2020. Of course, addressing legal team tech skills gaps may drive inclusion of professionals with diverse skillsets, like data scientists, automation experts and the like, into the legal function.”

 

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.”

 

 

AI fears subside: Most see fundamental change, but not job loss — from .law.com by Frank Ready
ILTA released a new Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning report that alludes to fundamental changes coming for the legal industry—but those disruptions may not be happening where one would expect.

Excerpt:

A new Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning report published last week by the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) indicates that while law firms may be expecting AI to yield “fundamental change” within the industry, lawyers shouldn’t count on a significant portion of the work they perform being replaced by software.

Also see:

 

Some of the topics/items mentioned include:

  • Technologists join lawyers in creating the legal realm of the future.
  • Future lawyers will need to either have project managers on staff or be able to manage projects themselves.
  • Lifelong learning is now critically important. One doesn’t necessarily need to be able to code, but one needs to be constantly learning.
  • Need to understand legal principles but you will also need to have augmented skills (which will differ from person to person)
  • New business and delivery models. Don’t presuppose that the current model will always be around.
  • There will be fewer traditional roles/practices. Traditional roles are sunsetting; new skillsets are needed.
  • Students: Do your due diligence; read up on the industry and think about whether there’s a good fit. Learn your craft. Get experience. Be who you are. Bring your unique brand to the table.
 

Indian police are using facial recognition to identify protesters in Delhi — from fastcompany.com by Kristin Toussaint

Excerpt:

At Modi’s rally on December 22, Delhi police used Automated Facial Recognition System (AFRS) software—which officials there acquired in 2018 as a tool to find and identify missing children—to screen the crowd for faces that match a database of people who have attended other protests around the city, and who officials said could be disruptive.

According to the Indian Express, Delhi police have long filmed these protest events, and the department announced Monday that officials fed that footage through AFRS. Sources told the Indian news outlet that once “identifiable faces” are extracted from that footage, a dataset will point out and retain “habitual protesters” and “rowdy elements.” That dataset was put to use at Modi’s rally to keep away “miscreants who could raise slogans or banners.”

 

From DSC:
Here in the United States…are we paying attention to today’s emerging technologies and collaboratively working to create a future dream — versus a future nightmare!?!  A vendor or organization might propose a beneficial reason to use their product or technology — and it might even meet the hype at times…but then comes along other unintended uses and consequences of that technology. For example, in the article above, what started out as a technology that was supposed to be used to find/identify missing children (a benefit) was later used to identify protesters (an unintended consequence, and a nightmare in terms of such an expanded scope of use I might add)!

Along these lines, the youth of today have every right to voice their opinions and to have a role in developing or torpedoing emerging techs. What we build and put into place now will impact their lives bigtime!

 

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.

 

Legal Tech Broke Investment Record in 2019 as Sector Matures — from biglawbusiness.com by Sam Skolnik

Excerpts:

  • Investments in legal tech soared past $1 billion in 2019
  • Key legal tech conference boasted record attendance

Legal technology deals and investments stayed on a fast track in 2019 as the sector becomes increasingly relevant to how Big Law firms and corporate legal divisions operate. Legal tech investments flew past the $1 billion mark by the end of the third quarter. It hit that mark for the first time the year before.

Also see:

“E-discovery sits at the intersection of two industries not known for diversity: legal and high-tech. Despite what can feel like major wins, statistics paint a bleak picture—most U.S. lawyers are white, managing partners are primarily male, and only 2% of partners in major firms are black; leadership at e-discovery companies has historically reflected this demographic. The next decade will see a major shift in focus for leadership and talent development at e-discovery providers as we join law firms and corporate legal departments in putting our money where our mouths are and deliver recruitment and retention programs that fight discrimination and actively recruit, retain, and promote women, minority, and underserved talent.” 

Sarah Brown, director of marketing, Inventus

 

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