“No imminent AI apocalypse” – Our thoughts included in World Trademark Review AI article (Feb ’18)


Comments made by LawPanel founder Mark Kingsley-Williams were included in a World Trademark Review piece by Senior Reporter Tim Lince.

‘One company in the legal industry that is embracing the opportunities of artificial intelligence is British IP technology company LawPanel. Last November, the company launched AILA, dubbed “the world’s first automated trademark assistant”. The company claims to use “ground-breaking artificial intelligence” to offer IP advice – including running trademark searches across multiple jurisdictions – in a familiar chat room environment.

Founder Mark Kingsley-Williams tells World Trademark Review that there are amazing innovations in such technology, but trademark lawyers don’t necessarily have to be concerned about their jobs being replaced by a robot: “AI will speed up legal research, but it will not replace advice formulation – the key is the multiplier effect, wherein AI can do simple mundane tasks at 10 or 100 times the speed of a human.

“Crucially, though, AI will not encroach into advice giving as it only works on repetitive tasks in a very tightly-defined domain. We had a painful experience from developing AILA, as AI is a long way from having general understanding on broader domains and trademarks, while an attorney has that understanding as well as a lot of real-world knowledge.”

Kingsley-Williams admits that law firms “may need a few less paralegals” due to AI, in the same way that “they needed fewer typists” due to the rise of computers. But for anything beyond the most simple, objective trademark-related tasks, he sees little hope that AI could replace an attorney and be anywhere near as effective. One example he cites is clearance and search.

“One of the problems in developing sophisticated automated search is working out whether a trademark is distinctive,” he explains. “There are statistical tricks which we used, but they are just that – tricks. The AI does not ‘know’, it is just using probabilities as a proxy. So as well as knowing much more, attorneys mostly know what they don’t know and can steer away from the edges of their knowledge limit. AI, on the other hand, does not and will walk up to and over the edge. It’s for that reason that, in my opinion, attorneys can sleep easy – there is no imminent AI apocalypse. ‘

Read the whole piece here

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