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.

 

Gartner: 10 ways technology will change what it means to be human — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly

Excerpts:

Gartner’s top 10 strategic predictions for technology are:

  1. “By 2023, the number of people with disabilities employed will triple due to AI and emerging technologies, reducing barriers to access.”
  2. “By 2024, AI identification of emotions will influence more than half of the online advertisements you see.”
  3. “Through 2023, 30 percent of IT organizations will extend BYOD policies with ‘bring your own enhancement’ (BYOE) to address augmented humans in the workforce.”
  4. “By 2025, 50 percent of people with a smartphone but without a bank account will use a mobile-accessible cryptocurrency account.”
  5. “By 2023, a self-regulating association for oversight of AI and machine learning designers will be established in at least four of the G7 countries.”
  6. “By 2023, 40 percent of professional workers will orchestrate their business application experiences and capabilities like they do their music streaming experience.”
  7. “By 2023, up to 30 percent of world news and video content will be authenticated as real by blockchain countering deep fake technology.”
  8. “Through 2021, digital transformation initiatives will take large traditional enterprises on average twice as long and cost twice as much as anticipated.”
  9. “By 2023, individual activities will be tracked digitally by an ‘Internet of Behavior’ to influence benefit and service eligibility for 40 percent of people worldwide.”
  10. “By 2024, the World Health Organization will identify online shopping as an addictive disorder, as millions abuse digital commerce and encounter financial stress.”

Facial recognition, location tracking and big data will allow organizations to monitor individual behavior and link that behavior to other digital actions, Gartner said, noting that “The Internet of Things (IoT) – where physical things are directed to do a certain thing based on a set of observed operating parameters relative to a desired set of operating parameters — is now being extended to people, known as the Internet of Behavior (IoB).”

 

From DSC:
That last quote about the “Internet of Behavior (IoB)” should disturb us. I don’t want that kind of world for the next generation. 

 

 

 

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 create the kind of future that we can hand down to our kids and rest well at night…knowing we did all that we could to provide a dream — and not a nightmare — for them?


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.

 

Gen Zers and Millennials More Likely Than Older Generations to Embrace Continuous Learning; Also Feel More Stressed by Pressure to Learn New Skills — from prweb.com

Excerpt:

BOSTON (PRWEB) JANUARY 14, 2020
When it comes to updating professional skills, continuous learning is more important to Millennials and adult Gen Zers than to Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, according to a survey of 1,048 adults, conducted by getAbstract, a company that summarizes top business books, articles and videos.

More than half of Millennials (58 percent) and adult Gen Zers (52 percent) said success in their careers depends on updating their skills and knowledge frequently, compared with 35 percent of Gen Xers and 34 percent of Baby Boomers.

However, younger workers are also more likely to feel stressed about the need to continuously update their skills and knowledge. Almost one-third (31 percent) of Millennials and Gen Zers said engaging in continuous learning stressed them out, compared with 19 percent of Gen Xers and 15 percent of Baby Boomers.

 

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.
 
 

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

 

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?

 

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.”

 

 

Psalm 90:12 New International Version (NIV) — from biblegateway.com

12 Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

From DSC:
Upon reading this scripture again…I couldn’t help but recall the scene from Dicken’s A Christmas Carol where Ebenezer Scrooge approaches his own gravestone and sees his own name engraved upon it. It is one of the last catalysts for his amazing transformation.

How might we change if each of us were to picture our own name on a gravestone on this very day? Would we do anything differently? 

 

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