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In Search of Perfect Client Service Why lawyers don't seem to get it

HAL 9000, washing machines and AI in Law

Posted in Client Service, Commentary

I read this and immediately started thinking about my Saturday morning encounters with our washing machine. Walk by, put the towels in and then feed the dogs. Swing by later after grabbing morning coffee, put the towels in the dryer and put the whites in the washing machine.  Lather. Rinse. Repeat.  Episodic encounters with the washing machine while life goes on.  So as I returned my thought to the tweet, I wondered if this “washing machine” frame of mind was the right one.

Artificial intelligence aims–or at least it should–to solve a problem for the consumer of the AI.  If it doesn’t do that, I am not sure what role it will play for the user other than being a shiny new object.  Think

(yes, I confess to having one of these)  Don’t get me wrong, shiny objects can be fun and you can sell a lot of them.  But they don’t last and they don’t make an impact.

So, how my washing machine and shiny object obsession fit in with AI?  I believe buyers need something more than a washing machine to use it.  The AI must integrate with existing life and reduce or eliminate a problem.  If a General Counsel is forced to add a whole new platform or file system to get a benefit, I think the likelihood of success of the AI is reduced.

It seems to me a useful exercise would be to define the attributes that must be manifest if something new is to capture the market.  To me, a starting point would be: simplicity; ease of use; eventual benefit; time to achieve eventual benefit; “fit” with what I am doing now. I think the holy grail in attributes is holism. HAL 9000 offered these attributes.  Washing machines, not so much.

Thoughts?