A. Quote of the Week

“When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail. When you’re a lawyer, everything looks like a legal issue and a lawyer issue; lawyers usually think lawyers are the best solution to everything. One of the great things about having people come from outside the legal profession in a hackathon is that they say, “Maybe there’s a solution that doesn’t necessarily involve a lawyer.” It’s really hard to get lawyers and law firms to think that way.” (Jordan Furlong)

B. Articles to Read 

1. Hype vs. Reality – AI and Blockchain 

Hype Killer – Only 1% of Companies Are Using Blockchain, Gartner Reports (Artificial Lawyer)

Key Quote:

“If one had surveyed law firms a few years ago, the total number of Global 100 firms using an AI system would also have been around 1%. Today dozens of law firms around the world are using AI systems in different ways. So, we should not assume that because uptake for blockchain is so far small, that it won’t grow.” 

Why it Matters:

I’ve deliberately avoided any mention of blockchain/distributed ledger technology (DLT) in prior articles. Driving adoption of legal technology amongst lawyers is challenging enough. Telling lawyers that they probably should also start understanding DLT (which, to be fair, they should) is likely to fall predominately on deaf (or at least confused) ears. Of course, for those people who are interested, they can listen to my webinar with Don Johnston on DLT from last month. 

The article cites a recent study that found that fewer than 10% of chief information officers have used blockchain in their organizations or are planning/looking at experimenting with blockchain in the short term. And this shouldn’t be surprising – just like with AI, sometimes the hype doesn’t match reality. But that certainly doesn’t mean that the hype is just hype. Adoption of new technologies generally doesn’t happen overnight, and the adoption of DLT won’t be any different.

2. The Healthcare Industry: New Players Solving Old Problems 

How Google Plans to Use AI to Reinvent the $3 Trillion U.S. Healthcare Industry (CB Insights) 

Key Quote:

“Now [Google is] turning its focus to healthcare, betting that its AI prowess can create a powerful new paradigm for the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of disease. In short, Google seems to be going after the healthcare space from every possible angle.”

Why it Matters:

As noted in prior week’s articles, there are so many parallels between the legal industry and the healthcare industry (and between lawyers and doctors in particular). This report from CB Insights looks at Google’s (or technically, Alphabet’s) use of AI to re-invent the healthcare industry. Rather than the traditional one-to-one approach that lawyers and doctors are used to, Google is building and leveraging technology to treat eye disease, diabetes, heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease, amongst other things. While this is far from a death knell for doctors, it’s a great example of the type of solutions that can be developed by tech-savvy outsiders who bring new perspectives and new skills to solving long-standing problems in an industry.