A lot many utility software have been developed until now but who would have thought that artificial intelligence or AI could one day replace a full-fledged legal researcher. Well, we are talking about one of the leading law firms in the US, Baker & Hostetler, that recently hired IBM ROSS, an AI attorney developed by IBM. It just sort of makes us all believe that human race is working hard so that they don’t have to work anymore! The way of working has become smart, where physical labor is least required. Tech firms and scientists have developed and are developing algorithms that could reduce the time invested by us in tasks that are not of primitive requirement but are to be done in order to achieve something. For example, if we search something on any search engine, say Google, we would get hundreds of answers. Now selecting the most appropriate answer is time-consuming, plus the time spent in reading answers which were not appropriate wasn’t productive. And time spent on doing something non-productive is time wasted!

Keeping this in mind, IBM‘s Andrew Arruda and Jimoh Ovbiagele developed an AI Lawyer ROSS: world’s first artificially intelligent attorney!


Who is ROSS?

Well, the question should rather be – What is Ross? Because it is no person. ROSS is a machine or basically a legal research tool that understands the law and can answer to law based questions asked by human lawyers in the natural language. Unlike the search engines, it doesn’t provide a list of possible answers to the questions, it provides the best or most appropriate answer along with strong evidence. Lawyers ask research questions to ROSS casually as if they were talking to a colleague, and our smart attorney reads through the law, gathers evidence, draws inferences and returns with a ‘highly relevant’, evidence-based answer.

Every time ROSS answers to some question, it asks for a feedback and improves itself according to them. That is, this AI attorney gets smarter with time just like humans gain experience with time.

It keeps track of developments in the legal system and also reports if any of those would affect it’s clients’ cases. It monitors the law 24X7 and notifies decisions of the court as well.


Why is IBM ROSS needed?

Corporate clients have become very cost-conscious. They like to pay only for the time invested by law firms into bringing solutions for their cases and not the time wasted in research to find those solutions. In this case, law firms need to reduce their time spent on going through millions of documents, researching, finding solutions because they won’t get paid for all this time. In fact, a study found out that new associates spend 31 to 35 percent of their time conducting legal research. Here’s where IBM ROSS intelligence comes in.

ROSS is smart and can sort through billions of documents in a single second slashing the time spent on research and getting improved results. It runs in the cloud and can be mastered in minutes. There’s no need of interrupting the workflow with hours of training sessions and lectures just to learn basics. ROSS frees lawyers from the burden of such tasks and lets them do what they are really meant to do. Gone are the days of manually going through endless internet and database search results!

About IBM’s Watson

ROSS is based on Watson‘s cognitive computing platform developed by IBM. Watson was developed by a research team led by David Ferrucci and was named after IBM’s first CEO and industrialist Thomas J. Watson.  It is not one system, not even a supercomputer. It is an asset of services in the cloud that can be used and can be trained. All Watson systems use natural language processing and machine learning to answer customers’ questions that concern them. It can extract the key information from all documents at a very high speed. Now you can guess from where does ROSS’s ability to sort through billions of documents in a single second comes from! It can also reveal insights, patterns, and relationships across data, that is, decode the encoded information provided.

IBM ROSS could not have been accomplished prior to the advent of IBM Watson and cognitive computing. Watson’s cognitive computing enables ROSS’s intelligence. Watson and ROSS both are learning processes and not just translating words and syntax into search results. They can undergo focused training for use in a particular way. They learn and improve!

ROSS has been hired by one of the leading law firms in the US, Baker & Hostetler, from the day it was deployed. It has found a place in the firm in order to deal with bankruptcy matters. It is anticipated that soon other law firms will also be announcing the use of the AI attorney.

Now everyone has this question in mind that will ROSS replace human lawyers? Well, obviously no! ROSS is just like a helper to reduce the unproductive time and also to reduce cost. Weighing data, drafting documents and making arguments are still to be done by human lawyers!

As to conclude, ROSS is a system that would lead to efficient and smart research, lowering the costs so as to make the law firms affordable to all.


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