World's first robot lawyer 'hired' for bankruptcy practice

Robot handshake
By Eleanor O'Neill, CA Today

17 May 2016

US-based lawyers Baker & Hostetler has become the first firm in the world to hire ROSS, an AI robot and legal expert developed by IBM.

Baker & Hostetler has announced that it will be employing ROSS in the firm's bankruptcy practice, a branch that currently employs close to 50 lawyers.

Bob Craig, Chief Information Officer, commented: “At Baker & Hostetler, we believe that emerging technologies like cognitive computing and other forms of machine learning can help enhance the services we deliver to our clients.

“Baker & Hostetler has been using ROSS since the first days of its deployment, and we are proud to partner with a true leader in the industry as we continue to develop additional AI legal assistants."

The system is an extension of IBM's cognitive computer Watson and has the potential to exponentially speed up legal research.

As well as operating search and alert functions, ROSS simplifies complex legislation into conversational text and learns with use to provide better, more 'human' answers to queries.

According to the product website: "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.

"In addition, ROSS monitors the law around the clock to notify you of new court decisions that can affect your case."

Andrew Arruda, ROSS Intelligence co-founder and CEO, has said numerous other law firms have signed licenses for the technology and more announcements can be expected soon.

Recent research concerning the advancement of artificial intelligence systems concerns has given rise to fears over mass job losses.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has predicted a net loss of as many as 5 million jobs internationally due to automation by 2020 and PwC has identified it as a major factor in 150,000 losses in the UK alone.

Do you think robots could be used in accountancy practices in the near future? Tell us in the comments below.


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