Screen Capture from ROSS Intelligence website

Screen Capture from ROSS Intelligence website

The website Futurism.com has announced that the first “artificially intelligent attorney,” ROSS, will be employed by the law firm BakerHostetler “to handle their bankruptcy practice, which at the moment consists of nearly 50 lawyers.” I have recently learned that another AmLaw 100 firm, Latham and Watkins, has also signed up, as has Wisconsin-based von Breisen & Roper.

ROSS is built on IBM’s cognitive computer Watson, a development we discussed in a previous post. In an article in Forbes about the newest “employee” at BakerHostetler – an Iowa-based firm that has been working with ROSS developers for several years – Amit Chowdhry explained that “ROSS will be able to quickly respond to questions after searching through billions of documents. Lawyers can ask ROSS questions in plain English such as ‘what is the Freedom of Information Act?’ And ROSS will show users what the citations are for its responses. The more ROSS is used by lawyers, the more it improves its responses.”

For now, ROSS’s expertise lies primarily in the area of bankruptcy law, the basics of which the computer learned in ten months, Chowdhry says. Other areas of the law are now being added to the computer’s knowledge base.

I am interested to know your thoughts on this and all other matters related to the law, either in the comments below or directly via email.