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artificially-intelligent attorney (AI attorney)

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

An artificially-intelligent attorney is a legal expert system that applies AI technologies to replicate and improve upon the abilities of a human legal research assistant. Essentially, an artificially intelligent lawyer is a specialized AI-based legal research program and may be referred to as an AI lawyer or attorney, a digital lawyer or attorney or a virtual lawyer or attorney.

ROSS Intelligence is an AI lawyer that began life as a research program at the University of Toronto. ROSS is built on IBM’s Watson cognitive computing platform. Like IBM’s supercomputer, ROSS relies on self-learning systems that use data mining, pattern recognition and natural language processing to mimic the way the human brain works. Unlike the human brain, however, ROSS can mine data from about a billion text documents, analyze the information and provide precise responses to complicated questions in less than three seconds.

ROSS summarizes the results and translates the formal legal language of the content to more conversational natural language for the response. ROSS’ machine learning algorithms mean that the program improves with experience, so the more interactions it has, the better it can respond to future queries. ROSS also constantly monitors legal information systems and provides users with updates on any new decisions that could have bearing on a particular case. Although the system only currently exists as software, it could be built into a humanoid robot (android) for "in-person" environments, such as court.

In May 2016, BakerHostetler, a century-old Ohio-based law firm, signed a contract with ROSS to work with its 50-human bankruptcy team. The creators are also adding other legal modules to the system. According to ROSS Intelligence, other law firms have also expressed interest in the system.

See a brief demo of ROSS:

This was last updated in June 2016

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