Artificial Intelligence – Rising Star That Cannot Be Ignored
Based on the articles, blog posts and general buzz in the IT, security, and Information Governance world, it would appear the big interest topic to close out the year may center on Artificial Intelligence, or AI. Holiday shopping lists are likely to be cluttered with the latest in-home gadgets, from ‘smart’ refrigerators, TVs, climate control, lighting and security…even holiday lighting schemes, for Pete’s sake! And this is not including more robust auto activities such as self-driving cars, or the huge expansion of robotics in the workplace (a completely different and serious issue that I think is going to be a major impact in our society and economic world, but that’s another story). We are more and more likely to have “things” doing stuff for us, in the blissful happiness world of thinking we are managing the things; perhaps the things are managing us.
So, what’s happening in the IG and Litigation Management world and why does this matter to a Legal Hold or Litigation Management Administrator for eDiscovery, or for law firms and their clients? First of all, K&L Gates just announced the launching of an AI Client Support Initiative that will very possibly be a game-changing leader for showing how law firms can support and assist their clients as those clients move into the AI environment for providing products and services. An interesting article by 3 Geeks and a Law Blog also discusses the AI issue by asking, “Why all the AI hype in the legal market?”. As 3 Geeks aptly point out the obvious, AI is already in our discovery processes through analytics and other processes and tools used to grind through the high volume of information relative to a matter. And K&L Gates partner David McDonald notes:
“AI development and deployment raise legal issues that do not fit neatly into one traditional bucket,” stated McDonald. “K&L Gates offers a world of experience in a wide range of legal subjects that we can readily bring to bear as new technologies emerge and penetrate markets.”
It would seem that AI will enhance the locations that need to be identified that may contain relevant information, depending on the matter; the types of information to be collected will become more and more diverse, and probably more difficult to access; the volume of information will certainly rise; privacy surrounding access to and collection of information may become a major question mark; and other legal issues surrounding getting access to, and reviewing, the information will just become more complex.
For instance, will counsel need access to a party’s FitBit information during a disability case; will robotics capabilities become relevant in employment issues, such as when pizza makers are replaced by robots; functionality of self-driving vehicles would seem to be highly relevant in accident claims; and product liability issues as yet unforeseen will surely arise. The history of normal human nature (whatever that entails) would seem to show that corporations will be much more inclined to jump on the AI bandwagon as soon as they see a business advantage, or a threat from competitors, than they will be to first explore the ramifications of that “dive into unknown waters”.
Someone needs to take the initiative in preparing and planning for such a game-changing event. AI and robotics are becoming a standard feature of more and more industry processes and product offerings. How corporations will manage, protect and produce information related to those products and processes will be a great challenge. K&L Gates is to be commended for taking a huge step in showing one possibility for helping clients address these issues; the firm is following ethics policy and best practices that will benefit them and their clients, as well as satisfy their ethical requirements for sound legal advice and guidance. Corporations need to understand underlying issues and requirements surrounding implementation of such powerful tools, the huge amount of information that can be accumulated through the use of these tools, and the responsibility the client has to protect that information, and produce it when required.