You can’t talk about eDiscovery without also discussing Artificial Intelligence and its potential impacts on the industry. Some people hear the term and jump to Sci-Fi movies and robots taking over, but it’s much more nuanced than that. You may be wondering how your job will be affected by this new technology. Or maybe you openly embrace technological enhancements. Perhaps you’re in the ‘just ignore it’ camp. You might even have “Skynet becomes self-aware” flashbacks. Whichever bucket you fall in, the fact remains AI is a subject that isn’t going away anytime soon. In many industries, including legal, AI and machine learning is already a thing. While there isn’t a squad of robots running review protocol just yet, smart companies are already leveraging this technology. Here’s a look at just two areas benefited by embracing the AI movement.
AI is already hard at work transforming how discovery is done. Gone are the days of attorneys sifting through boxes of documents. Thankfully, that time-consuming process has been replaced by electronic options. As these solutions evolve, we’ve seen the benefits of AI implemented through machine learning capabilities. Slogging through documents looking for that elusive needle in the haystack is now aided by software solutions with features like near-duplicate detection, email threading, and predictive coding. The benefits are obvious- less time spent on the tedious tasks equals more time to spend on meaningful work, which equals cost savings in the long run.
Understandably, the implementation of technology that does the tasks formerly completed by a human worker can cause some uncertainty and anxiety. There are certainly many theories out there about replacing the entire workforce with an army of robots, but that’s just not realistic. At least not anytime soon. There are just some roles, especially in the legal industry, that a human will always be the preferable choice. Let’s look at this common scenario. You’re a seasoned attorney with a large litigation case. The discovery files are in the many terabytes range. Back in the day, you’d have to employ, train, and provide a workspace for who knows how many junior attorneys to complete this task that would likely take many months to finish. You would have to rely on your training and the employee’s competency to locate the required documents needed for the case. There would be challenges- answering questions, employees calling out sick, performance issues. You must manage the project, the case, and the people. Sound familiar?
The solution is not a robot that will replace all the humans, but technology that assists the humans. Instead of eliminating jobs, you’ll be improving job quality by freeing up time from menial, time-consuming tasks for value-added services. The people you have doing review will be more efficient and productive. Rather than digging through documents only to see the same content numerous times, Technology Assisted Review will locate those documents through machine learning features. For the product manager, using technology to assist with identifying and sorting concepts from documents, can arm you with information that will help you make the most of your review time. The project is more efficient, deadlines are met, below budget and everyone is happy. Doesn’t that sound better?
Look, technology won’t go away just by squeezing your eyes closed, so it’s best to be ahead of the game and embrace it. Learning about the direction, benefits and limitations of AI can eliminate a lot of the fear and ambiguity surrounding the topic. Artificial Intelligence is not waiting for us in the future- it’s here. How will you use it?
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