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Pondering E-Discovery Without Those Pesky Humans

"Predictive coding," to me, has the sound of some of those annoying buzzwords like "proactive" and "slippery slope." But it's a real thing, and Barry Willms has some details at Counsel On Call's Lawdable (sigh) blog.

The headline -- "What Would Hal 9000 (WWH9D) Do for E-Discovery?" -- hooked me despite the misplaced parenthetical. Having been there in the trenches, reviewing and re-reviewing thousands upon thousands of .tiff files for days and weeks on end, I would have killed for a mystical system that took over for me after an hour or two.

Of course, Willms is quick to point out that no computer is gonna be able to do the kind of coding that they paid me the big bucks for: determining which of the 143 "primary issues" in the litigation were implicated and tagging as appropriate. But I did my share of garden variety Responsive/Nonresponsive/Privileged reviews as well, and it sounds like software engineers are making real strides in creating programs that can "learn" to draw those lines fairly accurately.

Willms is not ready to advocate eliminating people from the process altogether -- good news for contract attorneys worldwide! He just wants us all to adapt, without obsessing about who moved our cheese:

The bottom line: I don’t believe we’re anywhere near the Hal 9000/Space Odyssey scenario or a comprehensive predictive coding process eliminating the use of attorneys during the review.

But as the year nears its close, realize that change is constantly in the air these days. Change with it. Expand your skill set. Don’t get stuck where you are. Learn something new about technology this year. Read. Experiment. Become better at what you do.

Speaking of which, I'm kinda hungry. Enjoy the rest of your Monday, LBW readers.


Posted by Eric Lipman on December 6, 2010 at 01:09 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)


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