« Reading Proofiness 2 plus The Opinion Makers | Main | The sway of being asymmetric, Google edition »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Dave Lewis

Actually, de-duplication software has gone a long way to eliminate the issue you mention with reviewing 20 copies of the same document. It's easy to group them together (even taking OCR errors into account if they were paper originally) and review them in much less than 20 times the time for one copy.

The Markoff article got quite a bit wrong, not least on the "computers don't make mistakes" front. But the basic message that artificial intelligence technology has made massive inroads into document review, and is displacing some entry level legal jobs, is certainly true.


Dave: your point is relevant but different from mine. I'm talking about the manual labor of xeroxing and/or scanning those 20 copies taken from 20 offices, multiplied by the number of large-group meetings held at said company through many years.

The other howler I didn't even bother to mention was Markoff's claim (or more likely, his parroting someone else's claim) that the IBM computer mimics how humans play Jeopardy.


Physical copies? How quaint. Most stuff will exist in electronic form and the de-duping software will work pretty well.

Forgetting the overblown claims -- if this can just filter down the mountain of documents to the molehill of stuff that's interesting, a huge amount of hours go away. This is all good.


zbicyclist: They were hoping to find hand-written notes. And you're making a molehill out of a mountain of a job to locate "interesting"-ness. I wish them good luck.

Robert Waters

I work for a big4 accounting firm and have, in the past, worked on litigation support, building adhoc databases and simple applications to create virtual case files. It frightens me if the article is accurate regarding how "hands off" the lawyers/paralegals/support have become. Do computers have a place? Of course. Firstly, I think that using computers to prioritize rather than analyze is a very good thing - you might producing damning evidence much sooner leading to a settlement and thereby lower legal fees. And secondly, software can be very helpful in identifying patterns that humans don't see - but this analysis should be in addition to human review, not instead of. The comment by Tom Mitchell makes me chuckle. Ever since I was a university undergrad in the 1980's, we have been on the cusp of a 10-year explosion in the real world applicability of AI.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Get new posts by email:
Kaiser Fung. Business analytics and data visualization expert. Author and Speaker.
Visit my website. Follow my Twitter. See my articles at Daily Beast, 538, HBR, Wired.

See my Youtube and Flickr.


  • only in Big Data
Numbers Rule Your World:
Amazon - Barnes&Noble

Amazon - Barnes&Noble

Junk Charts Blog

Link to junkcharts

Graphics design by Amanda Lee

Next Events

Jan: 10 NYPL Data Science Careers Talk, New York, NY

Past Events

Aug: 15 NYPL Analytics Resume Review Workshop, New York, NY

Apr: 2 Data Visualization Seminar, Pasadena, CA

Mar: 30 ASA DataFest, New York, NY

See more here

Principal Analytics Prep

Link to Principal Analytics Prep