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Will Artificial Intelligence Replace Lawyers and Paralegals?
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Summary: The IBM machine ‘Watson’ can handle many tasks that paralegals and trainees perform. It may even tackle tax evasion by partnerships and corporations soon.

“You know my methods, Watson.”


— Sherlock Holmes

He can beat anyone in a game of Jeopardy. He can make music recommendations based on your past preferences. He has been integrated with databases like Bon Appétit magazine and used to generate recipes. He’s faster than a speeding bullet, and won’t roll your eyes when you ask him to make copies or enter your expense report. Who is this mythical, do-gooder creature?

Watson, the artificially intelligent computer system.

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The sophisticated robot, named after Thomas J. Watson, the industrialist and first CEO of IBM, starred on Jeopardy in 2011. Watson competed against previous winners Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings. It is safe to say that Watson won.

Watson on Jeopardy

Watson can access 200 million pages of content, including the full text of Wikipedia. His entire body of knowledge takes up four terabytes of disk space when he’s not connected to the Internet. When he’s online, his knowledge is virtually unlimited.

On Jeopardy, Watson provided the three most probable answers on his screen. He was able to answer all of the questions seamlessly, except he struggled some with categories that provide clues in only a few words.

Watson has had many jobs at this point. His first gig was as a utilization management decision-maker in lung cancer treatments at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Around 90 percent of the nurses now follow Watson’s advice, relying on the machine for guidance. His next role could be monitoring for tax evasion by corporations and partnerships.

Reuters will start utilizing Watson to analyze complex data soon. They hope the computer will be able to detect patterns in the numbers, and alert his human counterparts of tax evasion.

Watson will also be taking on the work of paralegals and trainees for firms that are looking to reduce costs. The University of Toronto’s ‘Ross’ machine already uses the AI software, calling it their “Watson-powered lawyer.”

Source: Reuters

Additional source: Wikipedia



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