The new generation of AI (Artificial Intelligence) has been enjoying a quiet behind-the-scenes renaissance as of late. While advances in the field have not been the kind of flashy inventions that draw headlines, AI advanced learning systems have been forging new territory in fields such as image recognition, speech recognition, and even the horizon of self-driving cars.
One of the fields benefiting from AI innovation is cognitive computing, the parsing, and data-mining of documents and other information mediums by AI software. It is not enough to simply scan in a document, for instance. It is far more helpful to have a computer system “read” the document for you, giving you a condensed summary of the key facts on the document. This level of technology has only been a pipe dream up until the last decade when deep learning algorithms were enabled by faster and more efficient computing.
At the nexus of the cognitive computing wave is Evisort, an AI software system company whose focus is handling document data for law firms and legal departments. The legal profession, unsurprisingly, generates a huge glut of paperwork, most of it worded in extremely defined legal terminology and legally technical jargon. It is time-consuming for paralegals and other staff to have to read all this paperwork by eye, not to mention the process is always prone to human error.
Evisort is a business founded by a combination of MIT and Harvard Law talent, CEO Jerry Ting, COO Jake Sussman, and CTO Amine Anoun. As reported on Yahoo, they’ve been recently joined by legal technology veteran Alexander Su, who will be leading the team’s business development. Together, they are bringing the power of deep-learning AI to the legal field, with a system that mines data from legal contracts and integrates with other office software, basically functioning like a paralegal assistant with a perfect memory who can digest a 30-page contract in a few seconds.
Evisort is bolstered in this mission by a recent round of investment capital funding, at $4.5 million, from the firm Village Global, which counts among its backers Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Jeff Bezos. The company’s founders have also been rated on Forbes’ list of “30 Under 30” in 2019.
Other companies that Forbes has on the radar are also using technology to discover new frontiers in business administration. Atrium is a subscription legal assistance company which uses software to automate basic legal tasks, like drafting form letters. Karakul is working on a better cryptocurrency, hoping to fix the foibles of the legendary Bitcoin and its imitators. And then there’s Cambridge Analytica, which has used social media data-mining to extract knowledge of public political opinion.
In brief, modern AI innovation is driven by new deep learning methods. The difference is that we can use these methods to turn a computer loose on a problem, even one we do not understand ourselves and let it discover new data points through trial and error, which is possible thanks to the faster speed of modern systems. For just one example, Google has developed an AI which has so far proven more than 1200 mathematical theorems, working from scratch. Many of them would have been obvious to mathematicians, but the computer is now in there doing the grunt labor, saving time from tedious detail.
Systems like Evisort perform the same sort of labor in the legal field. The average attorney currently handles 70 documents in a business day, or 25K per year. Many report that as their workload increases, attention burnout in this deluge of data can lead to inevitable human error. Trusting software to extract that mountain of paperwork into a neat database of relevant facts is a blessing to the industry. Hopefully, we can all look forward to computers being able to handle more of the tedious cognitive load while we can focus on the big picture.