Global legal giant Dentons will be partnering with global IT
giant IBM to invest in a Toronto-based startup known as ROSS Intelligence Inc. The
project involves attempting to train “Ross the robot,” an artificially
intelligent robotic device, to carry out grunt research in law firms. This
attempt at integrating “cognitive computing” into legal work could someday
replace some of the associates who carry out such research in top law firms.
The startup was founded by a group of University of Toronto students who have turned a class project into reality. ROSS is developing an application that uses IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence technology to automatically spit out answers, based on existing law and evidence, to legal questions while it also takes feedback from its environment and becomes more effective at assimilating that feedback.
Currently, Dentons is training Ross in Bankruptcy law, however, there are plans to introduce Ross to other areas of practice. Arthur Arruda, a student who developed the robot and who is now chief executive of Ross Intelligence, said: 'what we are seeing is Ross grasping and understanding legal concepts and learning based on the questions and also getting user feedback. … Just like a human, it’s getting its experience in a law firm and being able to learn and get better.'
Watch out lawyers, the time may be nigh when Ross may pass the bar!