I am excited to deliver one of the development partners inaugural “Tech Talks” at RelativityFest this fall. These presentations are entirely new for this year’s conference. The folks at Relativity asked us to consider this something like a “TED Talk.” For me, that is a high hurdle. Over the years, I’ve watched hundreds of TED talks. I return to a few of them again and again. The really good ones are an effective mix of education and call to action and can be (at least for me) life changing. Like I said… that’s a high hurdle.
With that hurdle in mind, I am giving considerable thought to my topic. Initially, I was confident that I should speak on all of the exciting new developments around the use of AI in eDiscovery. We (iControl ESI and the industry in general) have made significant advances in the last few years. I’m certain you’ve seen the AI full-court-press in industry this year. This stuff excites technologists. It excites me, and I love to talk about it.
On the other hand, I remembered some of the statistics measuring attorney adoption of these new technologies. Those numbers are pretty grim. The Aberdeen Group found, in a 2017 survey “STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE THE PERFORMANCE OF EDISCOVERY TEAMS,” that just 29% of responding organizations had adopted AI to help with eDiscovery. Interestingly, only another 24% of responding firms said that they ever planned to implement it.
The usual reaction to such disappointing numbers in our industry is to place blame squarely with our intended adopters. “Lawyers are Luddites!” we shout. I’ve been to those events, where legal tech types tell the lawyers that they are all Luddites, and the lawyers . . . well, the lawyers ignore them. Rightfully so. Lawyers are reviewing discovery documents in the Cloud. They are writing pleadings in Word, making PowerPoint slides for trial, and they are using Google Maps to find the fastest way away from the tech types who keep blaming them for not adopting their all-too-complicated products quickly enough.
Blaming your client for your own failure to make the products they want has never struck me as a particularly good strategy. We can do better. The products that really make a difference do better.
Moments ago, Google Maps notified me that my usual route home is backed up, and suggested an alternate. I didn’t ask it to do that. It just figured it out from my settings and past usage. It was that simple, that simplicity makes a difference, and that is why I use it.
As I hope I’ve made clear, lawyers are not Luddites. Even in eDiscovery we all use such sophisticated technology as de-duping, near dupe detection, De-NISTing, and email threading to reduce dramatically the volume of documents. At their core, none of these technologies are simple (just consider what it takes to recognize that one document is a “near-duplicate” of another). Their ubiquitous adoption comes from simple-to-use implementations. The power and utility comes from the simplicity in implementation and NOT the underlying complexity.
So maybe if we could make AI simple, lawyers would use it, and it would become the powerful discovery tool that we want it to be. As I contemplate Relativity’s guidance to consider my “Tech Talk” like a “TED Talk,” I’m reminded of something that many don’t know. “TED” is (or at least started out as) an acronym for Technology, Entertainment, and Design. As I prepare to address the audience at RelativityFest, I will focus on this exciting Technology that, through innovative Design, can be powerfully simple. Who knows? I might even figure out how to sprinkle some Entertainment in too.
Expect more from me on this, in the run-up to RelativityFest at the end of September. Until then, if you want to learn more about our technology that’s so powerful, it’s simple, reach out to me or my team. Even if you don’t decide to use it, we promise that we’ll never call you Luddites.
About iControl ESI
iControl ESI, founded in 1999, is a complete eDiscovery software and services provider, providing solutions in all phases of the EDRM. Through a combination of expert advisory services, skilled and efficient project management, state-of-the-art technology, and a singular focus on creating the best client experience, iControl ESI provides solutions to the business problems associated with discovery, by lowering the cost of data discovery and increasing document review efficiencies. In addition to working with industry-best technologies, iControl ESI utilizes its own developed technologies, which include ENVIZE, an industry-changing predictive coding solution, and Recenseo, a complete online document review solution. Visit us at www.icontrolesi.com.