PC to AI: The Path to Beyond

Aug 2, 2017

When asked about technology challenges the courts face, I reflected on 35 years of creating court-focused software solutions, starting in the days of the first IBM PC, then the next greatest thing called the Internet, and most recently, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Over this period of time the concept that litigation is expensive, time consuming, and that no one wants to go to court if they can avoid it has remained constant. Thus, over time we see the business of the courts going to alternative sources of resolution—processes that take less time, are less expensive, are easier to participate in, etc.

With such alternatives for dispute resolution, a significant challenge facing the courts is to remain the gold standard for justice, while at the same time adopting technologies to remain competitive. The courts are a business; they have customers—albeit some not by choice—but as a business they need to make use of the advancements in technology the same as private sector businesses. E-filing surely has helped, but automation of court workflows to provide case information to discern dispute fact from fiction is still manual human-centric process.

I suggest that the fourth industrial revolution, artificial intelligence (AI), is upon us and that the courts can use AI software to reduce the time and effort to process cases. That is not by eliminating responsibilities and years of judicial expertise, but by providing guided assistance with document summaries, case facts, conflict of facts, timelines, relationships and data that exist within documents requiring human review to locate. AI will not make case decisions, but will make facts more accessible and transparent to those who require them.

One can’t always determine where the next backlog will occur, the past being our foreclosure crisis, our current being the opioid epidemic, or America’s immigration case backlog. Instead of hiring or reassigning judicial resources to assist with the increased workload, I suggest providing the courts with tools available and in use by private sector organizations, which will revolutionize
the valuable gold standard in services that courts provide.

See this post in the upcoming August/September 2017 issue of Courts Today.