Could a computer put the jobs of future associates in Jeopardy? The answer to that, in Jeopardy style, comes in the form of a question, "Who is Watson?" It may ultimately mean legal research performed in seconds rather than hours. This week, it meant a huge game show victory by a computer over human competitors.
Watson the computer proved its intelligence on Jeopardy, the first step toward the genius computer's use in Law firms and other businesses to tackle research assignments and solve problems. The IBM computer and Jeopardy victor named after IBM's founder Thomas J. Watson, beat two of the show's most successful contestants. That's because Watson was loaded with more than 200 million pages of information that the computer was able to access in 10 milliseconds--faster than the speed of light--giving Watson a clear advantage over its human competitors when answering the Jeopardy questions. Watson was able to "learn" and get better with practice, a skill that would come in handy when answering important legal questions and performing research.
IBM Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Robert C. Weber quoted in The National Law Journal, explained that the underlying technology that feeds Watson's brain--- called Deep QA-- will transform the way research is performed and daily legal tasks are completed. This artificial intelligence is capable of analyzing hundreds of millions of pages of content then spit out an answer often in a fraction of a second. Weber goes on to elaborate:
Imagine a new kind of legal research system that can gather much of the information you need to do your job - a digital associate, if you will. With the technology underlying Watson, called Deep QA, you could have a vast, self-contained database loaded with all of the internal and external information related to your daily tasks, whether you're preparing for litigation, protecting intellectual property, writing contracts or negotiating an acquisition.
But could Watson replace an associate? According to Weber, Deep QA is an enhancement not a replacement adding that Deep QA's purpose would be to enhance an attorney's capabilities.
The National Law Journal