Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Marc Jenkins, VP-Knowledge Strategy blog focuses on better ways to conduct eDiscovery in litigation.

Last week, Magnus Carlsen of Norway was crowned 2013 World Chess Champion. Litigation is often compared to a chess match. Litigators, like chess masters, spend thousands of hours mastering their craft to become experts. Two stories about the game of chess shed some light on the cicayda approach to technology and empowering intelligent lawyering. 

The first story assists us with understanding modern day digital society and the impact of exponential growth of computing power and technology. In a story common to many ancient societies, the inventor of the game of chess shows his creation to the ruler of his land. The ruler is so enamored by the game that he allows the inventor to name his own reward. The wise inventor asks for a quantity of rice to be determined as follows: one grain of rice to be placed on the first square of the chessboard, two grains on the second, four on the third, eight on the fourth and so on, with each square receiving twice as many grains as the previous. The emperor thinks the man is a fool and agrees. However, the constant doubling results in grains of rice piled higher than Mount Everest at the end of the chessboard.

The constant doubling was deceptive because it is initially unremarkable, akin to linear growth, and causes the ruler’s tragic miscalculation. At the halfway point of the chessboard, the pile of rice is not that exceptional as compared to the grain pile at the end of the chessboard. After thirty-two squares, 4 billion grains of rice or a large field are rewarded to the inventor. It is when you get into the second half of the chessboard and are doubling incredibly large numbers that the real power of exponential growth is seen. Moving to the second half of the chessboard is an expression you are likely to hear in Silicon Valley and other tech hubs. The early stages of the chessboard were impressive but it took a long time to move from large IBM mainframe computers and Texas Instrument graphing calculators to the first Apple personal computer. As we move into the second half of the chessboard, computers can accomplish previously impossible tasks (IBM’s WatsonGoogle’s driverless car). To a draw a historical analogy, we are at the stage where the railroad tracks are almost completely laid through the United States. The true revolutionary impact brought by technology has not been yet been felt.

In legal, we are at an early stage of adoption especially vis-à-vis other industries. Atcicayda, we are bringing Lean and Agile software development methodologies to the legal technology space. We have successfully developed and are continuously improving our software and services offerings such as our unique Drone production analyzer which allows you to connect the dots quickly and determine the who, what, when, where, how and why of your matter and our constant case assessment tool Staccato which brings assessment back into “early case assessment” allowing you to manage risks and costs more effectively.  Our task-based applications are built with the lawyer in mind and improving their lifestyle and process is our goal just like app developers in all other aspects of your life. Why should legal be different? Fortunately, advancements in technology as illustrated by the chessboard example give us the power to develop these faster, better, and affordable applications. 

My second story is much more recent and illustrates that we are entering the era of augmented intelligence. Humans utilizing machines to augment their intelligence will beat out humans acting without any technological assistance and machines acting without any human input. Before IBM’s Watson conquered Jeopardy Champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, IBM’s Deep Blue dethroned chess grand master Gerry Kasparov. It would be wrong to conclude from these two examples that machine has established supremacy over man. After his defeat to Deep Blue, Kasparov invented freestyle chess, which can be played by machine or combination of human, and machine.  In the first world freestyle chess championship held, the final four did not consist of various supercomputer competitors.  Rather, the final four consisted entirely of man and machine combo teams. Three of the final four teams consisted of a combination of a grand master with a supercomputer. The ultimate winner consisted of relatively modest computer combined with non-grand master humans. Thus, Humans who combine their unique analytical abilities with process and implementation of the proper technology are superior to other humans and machines. This is an inspirational message.  We believe in lawyers and their unique abilities. Our goal is to build easy to use applications that empower lawyers to amplify their abilities and maximize their potential.  

 Every industry and part of society will be impacted greatly by the exponential growth of computing power. In a revolutionary environment, the laws governing society will also undergo rapid change. Many new issues will emerge and new applications of old laws will also take us in new directions that are almost impossible to envision today.   While the challenges to adapt will be great for the legal establishment, lawyers should not approach this new age with fear but with optimism about the new opportunities for lawyers to serve more people and apply their unique skill sets to the coming world. We are here to assist you in capitalizing upon these opportunities.


By Guest Blogger: Cicayda