Spotlight on ‘Lawtech’: how machine learning is disrupting the legal sector

Ask a lawyer to describe their daily work, and you’ll probably hear the words ‘document-intensive’ in response. It’s an apt description. The legal profession is overburdened with paperwork. Legal rulings, past cases, contracts and myriad other papers contribute to a data proliferation that is hard to keep on top of.

Unfortunately, failing to keep on top of it is not an option. The thankless task of sifting, reviewing and summarizing often falls to the lot of new associates, who spend between 31 and 35 percent of their time conducting research, according to ‘New Attorney Research Methods Survey’, a study from the Research Intelligence Group.

It’s costly, time-consuming, and (probably) extremely dull. But this way of working is beginning to change. A new sector is emerging in response to the ever-growing burden of data and the resulting high price points for clients. ‘Lawtech’ is bridging the gap between this most traditional of professions and a hitherto untapped source of help: cognitive computing, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.

The convergence point: human expertise meets AI

Over the course of this blog, we’ll look at two broad use cases for cognitive computing, machine learning and artificial intelligence in the legal profession:

  •       Technology-aided review
  •       Smart document creation

Let’s be clear: the idea is not to replace human lawyers with search bots, but to set them free to do more interesting and high-level work by eliminating the miserable grind. Artificial intelligence is not good at writing briefs, appearing in court, or negotiating with clients. This work remains the proviso of highly skilled human beings, and rightly so. However, it is good at document review and data extraction, and has the potential to realize enormous benefits for the legal sector.

Let’s look at some use cases.

Technology-aided review (TAR)

Cognitive computing, artificial intelligence and machine learning are three pillars of something known as TAR – or technology-aided review. This is the process of extracting relevant data points from unstructured data sets, like legal documents or contracts.

It’s in the ability to work with unstructured data sets that AI and cognitive-powered tools come into their own. While it is relatively simple to mine a nice, orderly spreadsheet for information, it’s much more difficult to extract it from more convoluted or scattered sources. TAR tools are capable of ingesting vast data sets of any specification – including data from the Internet of Things. Even more significant, perhaps, is their capacity to learn. These tools go far beyond just programming – instead, they refine their skills and knowledge with each interaction or query, developing and learning as they go.

One such tool is ROSS Intelligence, built on the Watson cognitive computing platform. Its natural language understanding capabilities mean it can understand and interpret nuanced questions more accurately than a simple keyword search. To answer a question, ROSS sifts through multiple text documents until it comes up with the relevant information. The volume of data it can handle is staggering: up to a billion text documents per second. The sheer speed means huge benefits in terms of reduced labor and costs.

TAR tools like ROSS have multiple use cases. They could be invaluable for consultancy work – extracting data such as contract start and end points, or payment dates, from large numbers of documents. The tool then presents these findings in a handy dashboard form, where it provides the base point for human analysis, theorizing or negotiation.

It could also be used to analyze target companies in mergers and acquisitions deals. Machine learning can perform searches on particular companies and identify wording that differs from the norm in global sales contracts, to spotlight potential new deals.

Smart contracts and document creation

While research and review is the obvious use case, automation through machine learning has the potential to perform more complex tasks, too. One of these is document generation.

Contract generation software enables contracts to be automatically produced by asking a series of questions, such as: ‘when does the agreement begin?’ or ‘is the tenant undertaking work on the property?’ The questions generate a decision tree that determines the form the contract will take, ensuring all bases are covered. It’s a little like setting up formulae in an excel spreadsheet, to determine the rules by which the content therein will be governed.

Specialized document software of this kind can also enhance document organization by ensuring that all internal cross-references apply language consistently – even if multiple people have been involved in drafting them. This means consistent terminology across the document and minimized risk of misinterpretation. Document comparison tools can also check for undefined terms and identify missing conditions or clauses, to ensure a water-tight result.

Interestingly, the demand for solutions like these is creating a brand new ‘Lawtech’ sector, and new jobs with it. ‘Legal technicians’, or ‘legal engineers’, many of them ex lawyers themselves, have the job of designing automation solutions and helping law firms to implement them, without the need for a centralized IT system.

Software operating on a cloud-based platform is agile enough to grow and adapt to firms’ growing needs. Cognitive computing and artificial intelligence means the platform is ever-learning, self-improving and immune to the threat of becoming obsolete, because it is always updating its knowledge.

The future of ‘Lawtech’

The emergence of ‘Lawtech’ and its accompanying job opportunities marks an interesting convergence point between mankind and machine. Large organizations that have invested in automation software are already seeing significant returns, in the shape of reduced operating costs, swift, accurate data extraction and better opportunities for their staff to take on high level work.

Attorneys have more time to engage in the creative side of legal representation – keeping clients better informed throughout the legal process, and exploring strategies and outcomes fully with the benefit of trustworthy data. The value of cognitive computing in the legal sector is already apparent – and it’s not going anywhere.

Learn more

To find out more about how ROSS and IBM Watson are creating value for the legal sector, take a look at this blog post, or explore our other solutions for legal professionals.

The post Spotlight on ‘Lawtech’: how machine learning is disrupting the legal sector appeared first on Internet of Things blog.

Internet of Things blog

Why Entrepreneurs Should Care Less About Disrupting and More About Creating

If you’re an entrepreneur or aspiring to become one, Tim O’Reilly is the kind of mentor you should try to enlist. He’s been there and done that in the New Economy since, well, pretty much since there’s been a New Economy.

O’Reilly started writing technical manuals in the late 1970s, and by the early 1980s, he was publishing them, too. His company, O’Reilly Media Inc. (formerly O’Reilly R. Associates), based in Sebastopol, California, helped pioneer online publishing, and in the early 1990s, it launched the first web portal, Global Network Navigator, which AOL acquired in 1995.

Since then, O’Reilly has been an active participant in a host of developments from open source to Gov 2.0 to the maker movement. He is founding partner of San Francisco-based O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures LLC, an early stage venture investor, and he sits on a number of boards, including Code for America Labs Inc., PeerJ, Civis Analytics Inc., and Popvox Inc. He has also garnered a huge Twitter following @timoreilly.

In his new book, WTF?, O’Reilly takes issue with the vogue for disruption. “The point of a disruptive technology is not the market or competitors that it destroys. It is the new markets and the new possibilities that it creates,” he writes. “I spend a lot of time urging Silicon Valley entrepreneurs to forget about disruption, and instead to work on stuff that matters.” In the following excerpt, edited for space, O’Reilly shares “four litmus tests” for figuring out what that means to you.

MIT Sloan Management Review

How IoT is disrupting the world around us

digital twin

Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the world around us. This may look like a bold statement to many, but that’s the truth. From elevators to planes, there will be 30 billion connected devices in the next three years. Clearly, IoT is moving fast, and tech giants are taking bold measures to constantly push the boundaries of what can be achieved with the IoT.

The recent Genius of Things Summit that was organized in Munich, Germany was a demonstration of how IBM’s unrivaled IoT ecosystem is changing the way we live, work, and play. Here are a few notable developments that caught my interest.

Digital twin

digital twin

The traditional way of conceptualizing, designing, and developing a product is time- and resource-intensive. Digital twin is an initiative to improve the efficiency of the process by using cloud-based virtual image of an asset maintained throughout the lifecycle. The asset, in turn, remains accessible to every individual involved in the process, thereby allowing people to work collaboratively, reduce errors, and improve efficiency.

Airbus and Schaeffler are the two companies that are currently using digital twin engines and bearings. Airbus is using this technology to create a digital thread that allows different engineering divisions to collaborate. This way, in case a problem is discovered, the company can explore whether the product is due to inadequate maintenance, poor manufacturing, or a fault in the design.

Cognitive commerce


The ultimate objective of cognitive commerce is to offer a truly personalized service to customers based on their precise preferences. To achieve this, a wide spectrum of technologies is used, from speech recognition to machine learning.

Visa is working in collaboration with IBM to offer its customers the flexibility to make payments from any IoT connected device. This, in turn, will eliminate the need to carry sensitive financial information embossed on payment cards, thereby making the customer journey simpler, easier, and more secure.

Predictive maintenance


As the name implies, predictive technology analyzes the data collected using sensors to predict the maintenance needs of an asset. This, in turn, improves asset availability, reduces maintenance costs, and improved customer satisfaction.

SNCF, which is a leading freight and passenger transport service, has collaborated with IBM to connect its entire rail system to the IoT ecosystem. Using the data collected from sensors, SNCF will be able to predict repair and maintenance needs of its trains and tracks, improve the security and availability of its assets, and reduce the downtimes associated with unexpected downtimes.

While the Internet of Things (IoT) has the power to change our world, we are still at the beginning of the transformational journey that will revolutionize the way we live and work for the better. In the next few years, we can expect to see incredible advancements being made by tech giants, such as IBM and other companies.

The post How IoT is disrupting the world around us appeared first on ReadWrite.


How The Internet Of Things Is Disrupting Life Sciences Business Processes

Life sciences companies are in the hot seat. They are held to the highest standards for safety, quality, and efficacy. The burden of achieving these standards falls on the manufacturing department (among others). Manufacturing drugs or medical devices requires a hyper-focus on risk abatement and quality.

Of course, there are still time-to-market pressures, and the Internet of Things (IoT) brings new help to achieve these difficult manufacturing expectations.

High quality, high productivity, speed: the IoT makes it all possible

The Internet of Things enables direct machine-to-machine interactions. It utilizes real-time data feeds from sensors and IoT-enabled devices that facilitate remote tracking, monitoring, management, and networking to improve the speed and precision of production execution and planning. Real-time information from product components, batches, and machines enables predictive risk mitigation.

Similarly, sensor data be used to proactively mitigate machine failure. This helps life sciences companies improve reliability and quality so that patients benefit from a responsive supply chain. These efficiency gains lower the cost of production.

Enabling personalized medicine

But for the life sciences industry, the greatest promise of the Internet of Things lies in the area of personalized medicine; i.e., enabling the production of batch sizes of one. It does this by embedding production orders within an individual part or an individual therapeutic batch. At the assembly stage, those directions are passed onto intelligent software. The software performs a live adjustment for the single unit. This video illustrates how this process works.

Stronger patient-centricity for medical device companies

The IoT can also increase customer-centricity. Medical device companies deal with costly devices vital to patients’ health. These devices are generally used for prolonged periods, so experience considerations are crucial. Continuous Internet-enabled monitoring of medical devices can better anticipate required maintenance so that service technicians can be called proactively and doctors notified before a failure occurs.

Additionally, sensor-collected information can provide a feedback loop to the device manufacturer. This insight allows for faster improvements in design and quality. Before the IoT, neither the speed, depth, nor quantity of data were available to provide the near real-time insight required to support these kinds of conclusions.

The Internet of Things can also improve therapies, patient experience, and collaboration. Wearables enable constant measurement of body traits. This lets patients control their health better and allows physicians to adapt therapies according to the patient’s exact condition. Roche Diagnostics Accu-Chek is one example that validates this point.

Increasingly, in-the-moment collaboration opportunities exist as old boundaries between machines, people, and processes are blurring. The Internet of Things will bring new opportunities beyond time savings and increased precision. It’s an exciting time to work in life sciences.

If you would like to learn more about how IoT, Big Data, and other technology trends are disrupting the life sciences industry, read the whitepaper The Digital Health Sciences Network and follow @SAP_Healthcare on Twitter.


Internet of Things – Digitalist Magazine

How Digitization Is Disrupting Construction: Strategies Forward

From 3D printing to prefabrication and assembly, the digitization and industrialization of construction is already underway. Knowledge and technology developed by the other industrialized industries is enabling construction to leapfrog to the latest, proven methods at breakneck speed.

Today’s construction industry is at an inflection point. Digitization is changing everything, including barriers to entry. In the new digital world, new business models are emerging, disrupting the industry and requiring new processes for the way we work and deliver services.

Digital technologies changing the construction industry: 3D printing & IoT

From supply chain to workforce planning, digital technologies are bringing greater efficiency and scalability to the construction industry. Robotics and 3D printing, for example, require 30% to 60% less building materials and can be completed 50% to 80% faster. The market for portable and modular buildings is growing as digital technology powers faster completion rates. Portakabin, a UK-based construction company building, uses 3D building information modeling (BIM) and a factory-like setting to construct portable and modular buildings 50% faster than conventional buildings. This allows Portakabin to obtain a higher level of precision, delivering construction on time and within budget.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is powering new efficiencies and smarter asset utilization. For example, CCC, a large Middle Eastern contractor, faced weak demand in 2008. The company had two choices: become more efficient or go out of business. Today, CCC uses IoT to monitor and improve the utilization of its assets, saving approximately $ 15 million per year.

Digitization of construction: does your business have the right strategy?

Construction companies that shift to digital stand to realize significant gains over the competition. These are the five key areas being most impacted by digitization and industry transformation:

1. Expertise and knowledge

As a new generation enters the workforce and more experienced craftsmen retire, there is an urgent need to make up for the resulting experience gap. Capturing and utilizing best practices can no longer be just a goal; it must be a reality. Otherwise, accidents, rework, and delays will become more commonplace – jeopardizing safety, efficiency, and productivity.

Technology-savvy millennials expect digital rather than paper-based processes. For example, consider the knowledge and experience that helps determine the amount of consumables or small tools required for a job. This knowledge will need to be translated into a format, such as tablets, that can be easily accessed at the job site.

2. Construction sites

Many activities traditionally performed piecemeal onsite will be consolidated and moved to efficient factory-like settings with safety and equipment availability greatly improved. The use of modern, lean techniques, including a major role for robotics, will improve quality, greatly reduce waste, and improve costs and schedules

Prefabricated “Lego-like” components will be produced with great precision and transferred to the job site. Here, 3D models and wearable technology will direct “skilled-enough” labor to quickly and accurately assemble the components.

Sensors gathering up-to-date information will transform the construction site, improving safety, monitoring progress, and reducing unnecessary downtime by anticipating and correcting potential problems, like a lack of materials or equipment issues.

The project status will be continuously transmitted back to headquarters to ensure contractors are paid faster and that their pay is based on progress.

3. Project collaboration

Owners, contractors, architects, and other members of the construction team will work on contracts designed to improve information sharing. They will be compensated based on the project’s success, rather than individual accomplishments. For example, project-as-the-tenant collaboration systems will be available to everyone on the project. This includes up-to-date structured (2D/3D renderings, job cost, etc.) and unstructured (documents, procedures, manuals, etc.) information.

With project collaboration, case studies show that change orders can be virtually eliminated. RFIs will document decisions already reached in the field. Under this new digital model, trust and respect are commonplace, driving the shared stakeholder collaboration that is paramount for greater success.

4. Skilled labor network

Labor unions are evolving. A digitally networked workforce may replace some aspects of their role. Skilled craftsmen and staffing firms will post online for available jobs with large contractors. Contractors, in turn, will be able to compare the costs, track record, skill set, availability, etc. of every person before the hire, similar to Angie’s List in the consumer marketplace. Pre-negotiated contracts based on volume and certified suppliers will save contractors time and money. An Uber-like availability and simplicity will be accompanied by reliable feedback.

Unions, in turn, will implement new training programs to help members better understand these new technologies and enhance skill level.

5. Commissioning and operations

The handover of critical information from the construction phase to the operational phase will occur seamlessly and without having to re-enter the information into asset systems.

BIM data is linked to the ERP and project management information, providing visual components throughout the process that will help minimize errors and costly rework.

Information captured in the design phase will have a common thread that will be used to populate the information in the asset management systems.

Equipment installed in the construction will have information on warranty and maintenance stored in an open network that operators will be able to access well after the construction phase is completed.

Next steps: moving towards full digitization

The digitization of expertise and knowledge, intercompany collaboration, commissioning and operations, and the construction site as a whole demands new business models and construction methods. Companies must be prepared to embrace these changes or risk being out-performed and out-innovated by the competition.

For more insight on the new digital age, see Building a Sustainable World, How to survive and thrive in a digital construction economy.

Internet of Things – Digitalist Magazine