Getting to KnowBot

Our firm’s journey in protecting and leveraging innovations for our clients has been accompanied by a culture of creativity and innovation within the firm. Our heightened levels of curiosity coupled with our second nature of looking beyond the obvious has helped us maintain a pioneering track record in the IPR landscape in India, many of which have been captured in our recently published IPONOMICS. The same principles have been driving the technology, analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) initiatives at our firm.

The FT Innovative Lawyers Asia Pacific 2017 report is the leading commentary on the legal innovation landscape, especially in the category of ‘Business of Law’ and has recognized several of our innovative endeavors over the last three years. These include Pravin Anand recognized as the Most Innovative Lawyer in Asia Pacific in 2015 and the firm being the only Asia headquartered firm recognized for Technology in 2016.

The saga continued in 2017, although the nature of innovations changed quite dramatically. The Financial Times report in 2017 ‘Highly Commended’ KnowBot, once again making us the only Indian firm to be recognized in ‘Business of Law – Technology’. The report describes KnowBot as “an artificial intelligence tool that was developed internally to analyse text rapidly for new insights into market trends, competition and for specific client matters within the firm’s specialist field of intellectual property. Analyses now support strategic decisions on client relationship management, financial management and hiring.”

Whereas the focus of the legal tech world has been on AI, Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP) for document creation and e-discovery, we discovered a rather unexplored application of these technologies through KnowBot. Let us examine the factors that triggered the conceptualization of KnowBot? And what makes these principles driving KnowBot’s application so universal?

  • Information Explosion: We are living in the Information Age and the quantum of data created every year is more than what was created ever before. Law firms are no different and are being swamped with information overload and need a structured approach to extract value from the 7 V’s of Big Data.
  • Lack of Structure: Most of the information resides in an unstructured format, not in structured databases that typically contain well-organized and neatly structured pieces of information. Law firms are no different and we are surrounded by data that resides mostly in the form of unstructured text.
  • Natural Language Capabilities: There has been significant development in the field of AI and NLP in the last few years. Some of these applications have become ubiquitous even in our daily routines. One of the most complex search algorithms is masked by one of the simplest user interfaces of Google search. Most of the world chooses to remain in oblivion of the power of natural language processing capabilities, which are shrouded in an enigma.
  • Misaligned Tools: The misalignment is apparent in the manner in which most corporates and law firms deal with information at an institutional level. The typical tools that we use to process text based information were conceptualized in a different era altogether in the 20th century. These tools have been driven merely by the need to create and read documents manually, without any machine intelligence.
  • Exploring Possibilities: The advances in the fields of AI and NLP have opened up several new dimensions in the manner in which we interact with text. For instance, we can statistically measure similarity of words, determine phonetic similarity using complex algorithms and even run mathematical operation on words, such as addition and subtraction. The possibilities become even more interesting as we aggregate groups of words, paragraphs and documents. Trends can be mined far more consistently and effortlessly by algorithms that can scavenge millions of words, which will not be possible for us.

As we chart the history of innovations along the innovation diffusion curve, one realizes that today’s innovation will become the grundnorm tomorrow. The path breaking of yesterday has become par for the course today.

It is only a matter of time before the discussions evolve from KnowBot to NowBot. NowWhat are you still thinking?

Authored by Rajiv Maheshwari.