No, the robots aren’t coming to take lawyers’ jobs. Tomorrow’s law offices aren’t going to be invaded, Terminator-style, by marauding androids looking to shut them down. According to ROSS Intelligence CEO and co-founder Andrew Arruda, it's actually quite the opposite with artificial intelligence (AI) being an invaluable tool as law firms look to improve efficiencies and deliver better results to clients.

“Beyond the Hype: Artificial Intelligence in Legal Research Innovation” was the subject of the webinar delivered by Arruda, as part of Bond Dickinson's first ever International Innovation Week, held in collaboration with its US alliance partner Womble Carlyle.

According to Arruda, AI consists of four basic branches: learning, speech, vision and language. Recent advances in computing power, available data (via the Internet) and algorithms have greatly enhanced how machines can learn by analysing past behaviour to predict probable results.

For example, Amazon Echo and Apple’s Siri are examples of AI systems that recognize human speech. Similar AI systems now exist that can recognize complex visual images by comparing them to thousands of similar images. “These systems aren’t perfect—we know that,” Arruda said. But they are getting better every day. AI is being employed to improve outcomes in such fields as healthcare, finance and transportation. So how is AI used in the legal world?

Arruda said ROSS Intelligence uses AI to conduct legal research. Lawyers are able to conduct “natural language” searches, rather than translating their needs into a Boolean search request. The result is more precise information with far fewer inaccurate results to sort through. AI “enhances lawyers’ abilities by cutting down on research time,” he said. “It supplements the tools we currently have.”

Bond Dickinson's Innovation Week is being held from 20-24 March, with 20 events taking place across the UK and in collaboration with US Alliance partner, Womble Carlyle, looking at everything from how innovative technology is transforming the legal industry and other sectors; to how businesses must challenge themselves to develop more efficient business processes and new ways of engaging with clients as a first step to embedding a culture of innovation.

There are opportunities for all staff from both firms to listen, learn, debate and create, through a series of open invitation webinars, workshops, roundtable events and discussions that everyone can get involved in.