Robotic Lawyers: Is Your Firm Next?

by Kelly Hays | September 1, 2016

shake hands with new technologiesWhether you’re asking Siri for the weather forecast or having your living room vacuumed by an autonomous scooter, artificial intelligence (AI) has infiltrated our daily lives. Science fiction is becoming practical reality, but not without raising questions and concerns. While our clients in the personal injury field wonder what effect the rapid expanse of AI will have on motor vehicle torts, the law firm of Baker and Hostetler has taken an historic first step to keep pace with the “march of the robots.” Meet ROSS Intelligence, the world’s first robotic lawyer.

Built with IBM’s Watson technology platform, ROSS can understand and answer questions using information from existing laws. According to Fortune, “It improves on legal research by providing you with only the most highly relevant answers rather than thousands of results you would need to sift through.” ROSS also stays up-to-date with current litigation, monitoring any impactful changes to a case.

While ROSS isn’t expected to make an appearance in the courtroom (or in a lawyer commercial) any time soon, it could have the potential to make a serious impact on the way firms interact with clients from the get-go. ROSS is fast and efficient, and with time-sensitive cases (like personal injury cases typically are) this could mean wonders for getting claims filed and in human hands quickly.

You may be skeptical of the idea, and to be honest, we are too. Yes, ROSS is engineered to understand natural conversation, but how natural is it to speak to a machine post-accident? How will your clients react to talking with a robot as opposed to a human with empathy?

At cj, we’re a little nervous that ROSS might be the start of a robot world takeover. Aside from that, we think it’s way too cool not to share with our readers. What do you guys think? Do you want to take on a self-driving car case with a robotic lawyer?