IBM invents a 'digital associate'

Robert Weber, the general counsel of IBM, says that that the company is developing a kind of digital associate called Watson. According to Weber, Watson is ‘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’. When a user poses a question, the system takes mere milliseconds to analyze hundreds of millions of pages of content and mine them for facts and conclusions. Weber concludes that “Deep QA won’t ever replace attorneys; after all, the essence of good lawyering is mature and sound reasoning, and there’s simply no way a machine can match the knowledge and ability to reason of a smart, well-educated and deeply experienced human being.” But since much of what young associates do is grunt work, it seems that a system like Watson could drastically cut down the number of associates hired by law firms.

blogs.wsj.com IBM invents a 'digital associate'
Thu, Feb 17, 2011 blogs.wsj.com