AI Lawyer 'Ross' Gets First Job
IBM's artificial intelligence Ross has just landed its first job! Law firm Baker & Hostetler has announced that they are employing Ross to handle their bankruptcy practice, which currently consists of nearly 50 (human) lawyers.
Ross, “the world’s first artificially intelligent attorney” built on IBM’s cognitive computer Watson, was designed to read and understand language, postulate hypotheses when asked questions, research, and then generate responses (along with references and citations) to back up its conclusions. Ross also learns from experience, gaining speed and knowledge the more you interact with it.
“You ask your questions in plain English, as you would a colleague, and ROSS then reads through the entire body of law and returns a cited answer and topical readings from legislation, case law and secondary sources to get you up-to-speed quickly,” the website says. “In addition, ROSS monitors the law around the clock to notify you of new court decisions that can affect your case.”
Science fiction fans recall a variety of AI lawyers. For examples, take a look at Max Detention (Virtual Counsel) from Greg Bear's 2007 novel Quantico and the lawyer program from David Brin's 1990 novel Earth.
A particularly good example in this case is the Law Expert System (LEX) by Greg Egan from The Moat (1991):
Ranjit arrives a few minutes later, carrying a CD; he mimes staggering under its weight. "Latest set of amendments to the UNHCR regulations. It's going to be a long day."
I groan. "I'm having dinner with Rachel tonight. Why don't we just feed the bloody thing to LEX and ask for a summary?"
"And get disbarred at the next audit? No, thanks." The Law Society has strict rules on the use of pseudo-intelligent software - terrified of putting ninety percent of its members out of work.
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