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AI Beats Attorneys in Law Competition

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By William Vogeler, Esq. on November 14, 2017 5:56 AM

Remember that show where the computer totally destroys the lawyer?

No, not that one. That was a computer-generated dinosaur crunching on the attorney.

We're talking about CaseCrunch, which hosted an AI-versus-lawyers competition. You guessed it: the robot killed the lawyers.

Alpha Attorney

CaseCrunch, a legal tech company, pitted more than 100 lawyers against "Alpha" to predict outcomes of nearly 800 insurance scenarios. According to the company, the software was right 87 percent of the time and the lawyers only 62 percent.

"The main reason for the large winning margin seems to be that the network had a better grasp of the importance of nonlegal factors than lawyers," the company says on its website.

CaseCruch scientific director Ludwig Bull said the company tried to make the competition fair. But lawyers often specialize, so it was not easy.

"We had to find something that was relatively easily intelligible to most lawyers and where they could also understand the underlying principles relatively quickly," he told Legal IT Insider.

"Unfair Advantage"

Ralph Cox, a patent litigator who attended the demonstration, said it was impressive. But, he said, many lawyers came to the show without experience in the field.

"It struck me that the computer was given all the database information and therefore had an unfair advantage," he said.

Of course, it wasn't the first time a smart robot bested humans. Watson did it on Jeopardy years ago.

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