4 Artificial Intelligence Technologies That Will Be Valuable for Legal Professionals in the Near Future5 min read

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From Apple’s virtual assistant Siri to Tesla’s self-driving cars, virtually all of the important technological innovations in recent years were made possible with artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.

However, not everyone views such progress with enthusiasm. There are those who point out how it leads to many disruptions in business that result in loss of jobs or shuttering of companies, businesses and even entire sectors or segments.

If it were viewed in a general sense, technological innovation does so much more good than otherwise. It can even improve an entire profession.

If chosen carefully and used properly, each piece of technology can advance a professional field. Indeed, there are those who expect the gadgets to soon have such an effect in the legal profession.

Also referred to as cognitive technology, the emerging tech will soon allow law practitioners to automate certain tasks which will greatly improve their efficiency and productivity. Here are four such examples:

1) Advanced yet Simple Information and Technology Systems

As technologies are increasingly used for work, the demand for systems capable of supporting the progressively complex workload rises.

Law practitioners are among the professionals with the most complex workloads. More often than not, they are required to process reams of documents to obtain the information they need for trial. Doing so includes printing and scanning, which made the process awfully inefficient.

They no longer have to toil in such a way, thanks to certain AI-leveraging service providers.

2) Expanded Cloud-Based Services

Cloud systems now make it possible to host and deploy AI technologies easier and for much less than it cost to employ similarly complex technologies in the past.

Also referred simply to as the cloud, cloud systems are basically means for storing and accessing data and programs over the internet instead of a hard drive.

Compared to building and maintaining your own elaborate physical IT system, the cloud is user-friendly, easily accessible, simple to maintain and reasonably priced.

The cloud may also be automated. There are, for example, tools for automating certain managerial functions that require much manual intervention, like Chef from Opscode and Puppet from Puppet Labs.

The cloud is therefore more advantageous to use than an in-house physical IT system, making it an ideal platform to host and deploy AI technologies.

By leveraging cloud systems, virtually any company—even a tiny law firm—may use AI technologies even without investing in a physical, in-house IT system.

3) Highly Developed, Cloud-Based Cognitive Technologies

It is therefore no surprise that many tech companies, including the tech giants, are expanding their cognitive services on the cloud.

AI technology pioneers Google, Microsoft, Facebook and IBM have made their AI tools and frameworks open-sourced.

The development will soon accelerate even more as significant innovations have been made recently.

According to Bloomberg, 2015 was a “breakthrough year” in AI. The year saw vastly more powerful and affordable cloud computing infrastructure capable of processing complex information; a plethora of datasets; free or inexpensive software development tools intended for researchers to use; and several new AI -powered services provided by the leading tech companies, like Microsoft and its new Skype system that can automatically translate languages.

As tech companies drive widespread adoption of cognitive technologies by making such gadgets even more available, they are increasingly investing heavily in the gadgets, according to CB Insights.

Once cloud-based AI tools are widely adopted, we will see a remarkable increase in efficiency and productivity among professionals. In the law profession, law practitioners will be able to mine large quantities of data easier and quicker but with more precision and accuracy, resulting in better cases than ever before.

4) Exponential Increase in AI Hardware Computing Capacity

The sheer volume of data that cloud-based AI platforms can store not only makes it easier to use AI-powered devices. It also improves them. Take for example how it betters machine learning.

Machine learning refers to a type of AI technology that allows computers to learn without being explicitly programmed to do so. It lets the computers study algorithms to perform certain tasks all by themselves. Examples include spam filtering, topic spotting, face detection, spoken language understanding and medical diagnosis.

Effective machine learning requires processing and managing significant amounts of data. In its groundbreaking paper “The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Data”, Google discovered and made public that a high volume of “noisy data” is better than a low volume of quality data in obtaining information.

Given its capacity for storing large volumes of data, cloud systems were well-suited to augment the devices in such a way.

But there was still the need to find a way of processing and managing the large amounts of data. To achieve the feat, high-performance graphic processing units (GPUs) designed for gaming were employed. The hardware have the capacity for high parallel processing needed for machine learning that most processing units lacked.

The formerly advanced technology is now mainstream. Google, for example, uses an in-house tensor processing unit (TPU) optimized for Tensorflow, Google’s machine learning framework . For commercial use there are the offerings of Nvidia and Intel, the top two competitors in the high-end server segment. The former has its impressive 15 billion-transistor machine learning chip. The latter has its AI “hyper chip” Xeon Phi.

With increasingly sophisticated devices available, legal professionals may look forward to a future where they have powerful tools at their disposal. For instance, tools that perform text analysis and machine learning together could predict the problems a company might have, letting the company avoid crippling or unnecessary legal expenditure; mitigate risk; and safeguard its brand, reputation and its shareholders’ investment.

Last Take-Aways

Eagerly supported by various companies, industries and sectors, AI technologies have been in use for several years now. But it was only recently that they were accepted publicly.

IT systems are now the cornerstone of many companies. Such progressive organizations will adopt advanced tech, like automation, opening up business itself to more and more innovation.

Such progress give businesses a competitive advantage. They greatly improve business functions; give significant benefits in cost and scale; and allow for even more streamlining, like identifying simple tasks that may be made even simpler or easier with automation.

Given the several benefits of leveraging the emerging tech, now is the time for traditional or conventional law firms to adapt. There is no other way as effective in remaining productive, competitive and progressive.