Tuesday, February 15, 2011

End of the Associate?

This week marks a new milestone in computing: Jeopardy! is airing a competition between Watson, an IBM computer, and two of the show’s greatest champions. Learn more about the competition here. After one of three episodes, Watson is tied for the lead despite a couple of odd answers.
Robert C. Weber, general counsel for IBM, suggests that the practice of law may benefit from Watson’s computing power:

Imagine a new kind of legal research system that can gather much of the information you need to do your job — a digital associate, if you will. With the technology underlying Watson, called Deep QA, you could have a vast, self-contained database loaded with all of the internal and external information related to your daily tasks, whether you're preparing for litigation, protecting intellectual property, writing contracts or negotiating an acquisition. Pose a question and, in milliseconds, Deep QA can analyze hundreds of millions of pages of content and mine them for facts and conclusions — in about the time it takes to answer a question on a quiz show.”

Weber doesn’t believe Watson’s technology will replace attorneys, but perhaps the practice of law should brace for a reboot!

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