Future Enterprise strives to provide a platform for business leaders to better understand and adapt to today’s rapidly changing technological landscape. Today, Future Enterprise brings you some insights into how certain subtypes of artificial intelligence, namely software robot devices or bots, can be used to make managing documents and extracting usable information faster, easier, and more human-centered.

What is a bot?

The term “bot” actually stands for "robot" and is a software robot device that is an automated program that runs through various types of technologies.[1] There are many different types of bots that execute certain commands based upon the programming used. One example of this programming is RPA, which stands for Robotic Process Automation. RPA is the use of software with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities to handle high-volume, repeatable tasks that previously required humans to perform. These tasks can include queries, calculations and maintenance of records and transactions. [2] To learn more about how bots work, visit this animated video.[3]

When and why do I want my lawyer to use a bot on my deals?[4]

Bots are known for improving productivity, reducing labor costs (usually by promoting labor to higher-value tasks), and boosting quality and consistency. Plus, bots don’t take breaks, grow tired, or get distracted, they can literally work 24/7. So from lease abstracting to title review, bots can make the diligence process more efficient and more accurate.

Where does my lawyer come in?

The goal of bots is not to replace people. The goal is to automate tasks within a process that people need not perform. This, in turn, will free up the human talent to perform higher-level tasks.[5] In other words, the role of the humans in the process is elevated, not diminished. For example, in the legal world, once the required information is extracted from the documents, it is necessary that a human with subject matter expertise utilize their skills to analyze the data. Simply put, the bots can extract and organize, but can’t analyze. That means you still need your attorney, but this solution can combine an attorney’s legal skill with the efficiency, accuracy, and speed of technology.

Do you have an example of how this is used in real life?

Sure! Seyfarth Shaw recently applied this technology for a financial services client, where the primary objective was to meet a strenuous deadline for notifying domestic clients of a change in business structure resulting from recent modifications to the U.S. Tax Code. Due to the unstructured nature of their contracts - 4,000 pdfs of all types (no single form here) reaching back 30 years across numerous countries - the client did not have even the most basic information such as how many client contracts require notice and/or consent for such a change in business structure. Our team implemented the use of bots from various technologies and leverage those solutions together to solve the problem. The first step was to have the bots sort through the 4,000 pdfs to cull for only those specific to the United States - here the bots searched and sorted for governing law, the language of the contract, and the locus of incorporation for the parties. What would have taken a human dozens of hours to complete took only a few minutes for the bots. The second step was to have the bots then search the relevant contracts for all the various permutations of provisions relating to “change of control”, “assignment”, etc., pulling out the relevant text and organizing the data into an easy-to-read matrix for our human reviewers. The subject matter experts could then quickly review the structured data and color code the provisions red, yellow, and green for ease of client use. Bottom line: leveraging the bots, our project team was able to meet the client’s deadline at a fraction of the cost of the traditional “all human” approach. It really works!