Law Technology News (sub.req.) reported yesterday that IBM's Watson would be coming to many business verticals, including law firms.
Early in 2014, IBM invested $1 billion creating a new business unit, the IBM Watson Group, to commercialize Watson in several industries, including legal. Rich Holada, vice president of transformations for the legal industry in the IBM Watson Group, cited three sets of customers - large law firms, legal service providers and corporate law departments.
As smart as Watson was on Jeopardy, the hope is to train Watson in the "legal corpus" by having him "read" an unstructured document set of legal knowledge.
So what could he do? He could be an automated associate, able to instantly respond to questions and make inferences based on information given to him. Want to know what HIPAA requires employers to do? Just ask - and get the answer immediately. No research by a human associate.
Need precedents? Again, no research required. Need to perform due diligence in intellectual property case to ensure that an entity owns its property without any encumbrances? Snap your fingers. It's done.
Watson can analyze data very rapidly. What are your odds of winning a case? Ask Watson. You might decide, based on the results, to settle or to go full steam ahead. Watson could predict costs far more accurately than people too.
We don't have a date for Watson's release in the legal market yet, but I predict the "final score" will be pretty much what it was on Jeopardy: Watson: 1 Humans: 0
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