Law and Legal
Our study of 25 years of artificial-intelligence research suggests the era of deep learning is coming to an end – “Almost everything you hear about artificial intelligence today is thanks to deep learning. This category of algorithms works by using statistics to find patterns in data, and it has proved immensely powerful in mimicking human skills such as our ability to see and hear. To a very narrow extent, it can even emulate our ability to reason. These capabilities power Google’s search, Facebook’s news feed, and Netflix’s recommendation engine—and are transforming industries like health care and education. But though deep learning has singlehandedly thrust AI into the public eye, it represents just a small blip in the history of humanity’s quest to replicate our own intelligence. It’s been at the forefront of that effort for less than 10 years. When you zoom out on the whole history of the field, it’s easy to realize that it could soon be on its way out.
At MIT Technology Review, we wanted to visualize these fits and starts. So we turned to one of the largest open-source databases of scientific papers, known as the arXiv (pronounced “archive”). We downloaded the abstracts of all 16,625 papers available in the “artificial intelligence” section through November 18, 2018, and tracked the words mentioned through the years to see how the field has evolved…”
Wired: “When hackers breached companies like Dropbox and LinkedIn in recent years—stealing 71 million and 117 million passwords, respectively—they at least had the decency to exploit those stolen credentials in secret, or sell them for thousands of dollars on the dark web. Now, it seems, someone has cobbled together those breached databases and many more into a gargantuan, unprecedented collection of 2.2 billion unique usernames and associated passwords and is freely distributing them on hacker forums and torrents, throwing out the private data of a significant fraction of humanity like last year’s phone book…”
- See the Hasso Plattner Institut – Everyday personal data is stolen in criminal cyber attacks. A large part of the stolen information is subsequently made public on Internet databases, where it serves as the starting point for other illegal activities. With the HPI Identity Leak Checker, it is possible to check whether your email address, along with other personal data (e.g. telephone number, date of birth or address), has been made public on the Internet where it can be misused for malicious purposes.
ABA Journal: “The alternative legal services provider market grew approximately 25 percent from $8.4 billion in 2015 to $10.7 billion in 2017 amid growing demand from both corporations and law firms. Released last week, the Alternative Legal Service Providers 2019: Fast Growth, Expanding Use and Increasing Opportunity report from Thomson Reuters found that 87 percent of law firm respondents said they were using ALSPs, up from 56 percent in 2015. At corporations, 74 percent said they used an ALSP, up from 60 percent over the same time period…
ALSPs come in a variety of forms. The report found that the five most common types are litigation and investigation support, legal research, document review, e-discovery, and regulatory risk and compliance. The pressure for increased adoption is coming from multiple places, according to the report. The first are clients, where 39 percent of large law firms said clients wanted firms to use ALSPs to drive down costs, up from 18 percent two years ago. Twenty-three percent of corporations report telling their lawyers to use these alternatives. Notably, small firms saw client demand jump from zero percent in 2015 to 24 percent in 2017…”
SSRN blog: “Expectations for page and word count aside, the more complex your paper is the more daunting the thought of starting it can be. If you are a career researcher you may have been studying the outcome of your thesis for months, even years. If you are a student, you are likely trying to condense a lot of theoretical information into something solid that contributes to the base of knowledge. As a community, academics like complex topics. We prefer the narrow and intricate topic to the broad and the general. It can be difficult to know where to start when writing on a complex topic. There are a few ways to get the momentum you need to not only start your paper but finish it! Here are 5 ideas for how you can get started; pick the one that makes sense for you and get the research rolling!”
Gone in a Generation (stunning photos and research that identify how critical the need for action is right now…the impact of continuing to deny change is everywhere…your home, your community, your state, across your nation) .
Across America, climate change is already disrupting lives – “The continental United States is 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than it was a century ago. Seas at the coasts are nine inches higher. The damage is mounting from these fundamental changes, and Americans are living it. These are their stories…
- Forests – A family of hunters explores what remains of Montana forests that have been decimated by fires and beetle infestations, both made worse by warming.
- Floods – The house she bought to be near her mother withstood North Carolina hurricanes for 43 years, until Florence — and a storm surge worsened by climate change.
- Fires – Amid the ashes of one of California’s worst fire seasons on record, father and son firefighters describe how drastically their work has changed.
- Fisheries – A legacy of lobstering has changed in a decade for three family fisheries, as warmer seas bring a bust to Rhode Island and, for now, a boom to Maine…”
NYT Special tribute to extraordinary black men, women who were left out of obituaries when they died
A Design to Bring Life to Death – “A special section in the Sunday paper paid tribute to extraordinary black men and women who were left out of The Times’s obituaries when they died. Its design aims to bring joy to readers: By Andrew Sondern…”Death is not often a cause for joy. But a special edition of Overlooked, which tells the stories of a dozen extraordinary black men and women who were left out of The Times’s obituary pages when they died, is a reason to celebrate. I designed the print edition of the project, which marks the arrival of Black History Month with a special section in Sunday’s newspaper. These obituaries reanimate the legacies of the overlooked, so it was important that the design felt as joyful and respectful as the articles themselves. With that in mind, I wanted the design to render those feelings of discovery and celebration and to largely avoid the plaintive grayscale imagery that often dominates the visual vocabulary of death…”
The New York Times – “Facebook and Google have been brutal to the news business. But this primarily reflects a failure of imagination. The tech giants are the world’s best distribution platforms and could be an answer for journalism instead of a grave threat. As readers have shifted to digital sources, the two companies have taken a large majority of online advertising revenue. More important, the platforms now act as “regulators” of the news business — determining what information gets delivered to whom, and when. With the flick of an algorithmic finger, those two companies decide what news you see and whether a publisher lives or dies. The impact on journalism has been clear. Just within the past week, we have seen over 1,000 planned layoffs at Gannett, BuzzFeed and HuffPost, and no one thinks we are anywhere near the end. Facebook and Google’s answer so far has been to pledge to spend $300 million each over the next three years to help journalism. But that money will be dribbled across a huge news landscape, and much of it will undoubtedly be used to encourage further use of Facebook and Google products.
But such investments amount to charity, and charity will never be the answer. What news publishers really need are active partners who are willing to embrace the idea that quality journalism sustains our civic society and that the answer to bad information is more good information. We can start with the fact that “free” isn’t a good business model for quality journalism. Facebook and Google flatly refuse to pay for news even though they license many other types of content. Both companies have deals to pay music publishers when copyrighted songs play on their platforms. And the companies also aggressively bid to stream live sports and entertainment content to run on Facebook Watch and YouTube. These deals are varied and often secret, but none of them are based on “free.” Why are the platforms so unwilling to pay news publishers for access to the quality journalism that users need and value?..”
- Promoting Ethics and Addressing Corruption
- Improving Transparency and Accountability in US Immigration Detention and Exploring Alternatives
- Placing Proper Checks and Limits on Invasive Surveillance
- Slowing the Federal Revolving Door
- Smarter National Security Spending and Policy
- Reprioritize and Revitalize Work of Federal Inspectors General
- Commonsense Contracting Reforms to Protect the Taxpayer
- Ensuring Good Stewardship of Publicly Owned Land
- Improving Protections for Whistleblowers and Fortifying Their Outlets of Relief
- Making Open Government the Default Operating Standard
- Reforming Government Operations to Maximize Transparency and Accountability
- Defending Democratic Institutions
- Reforming Congress
Via Mary Whisner – Perspectives Teaching Legal Research and Writing Vol. 26, No. 2 Fall 2018 – Download Complete Issue
Table of Contents – you can download each article directly:
- Finding Your Muse by Professor Abigail L. Perdue
- A Structural Approach to Case Synthesis, Fact Application, and Persuasive Framing of the Law By Professors Lara Freed and Joel Atlas
- How to Support International ELL Law Students When You Only Have a Few of Them By Professor Sue Liemer
- Engaging Legal Research Students Through Supplemental Readings from the Last Decade By Professor Annalee Hickman
- Alliteration, Restraint, and a Mind at Wor By Professor Patrick Barry
- Show and Tell By Patrick Barry
- Reflections of a Legal Writing Advisor By Professor Paul Von Blum
“an•thro•po•cene (n) The proposed current geological epoch, in which humans are the primary cause of permanent planetary change.
We have reached an unprecedented moment in planetary history. Humans now arguably change the Earth and its processes more than all other natural forces combined. Climate change, extinctions, invasive species, technofossils, anthroturbation, terraforming of land, and redirection of water are all part of the indelible human signature.
The Anthropocene Project is a multidisciplinary body of work from world-renowned collaborators Nicholas de Pencier, Edward Burtynsky and Jennifer Baichwal. Combining art, film, virtual reality, augmented reality, and scientific research, the project investigates human influence on the state, dynamic and future of the Earth.”
NOAA: “We’ve got 8 winter weather forecast tools you can tinker with on your mobile device or computer. Use them regularly to see where, when and how much snow, ice and wind is predicted…”
The New York Times – “High-level felonies carry sentences of 10 years or more and should each get 70 hours of legal attention, according to a workload study. For Mr. Talaska, that’s more than two years of full-time work. Mid-level felonies require 41 hours each.A few of Mr. Talaska’s clients faced life without parole. Such cases, on average, require 201 hours apiece. In total, Mr. Talaska needed to do the work of five full-time lawyers to serve all of his clients. Mr. Talaska was not outside the norm. Of the public defenders in Louisiana handling felony caseloads at that time, there were two dozen with even more clients. One had 413. The numbers alone might seem to violate the Constitution. Poor defendants in the United States have the right to a competent lawyer, and hundreds of thousands of defendants rest their hopes on someone like Mr. Talaska. But there has never been any guarantee that those lawyers would have enough time to handle their cases. That’s why the study cited above, which looked at the workloads of public defenders, is significant…”
Bloomberg [paywall – alternate free article via Gadget Hours]: “Pelco, a California-based security camera maker, set lofty sales targets last year for a model with sharper video resolution and other cutting-edge features. That was until Congress derailed its plans. In August, updated legislation barred the U.S. military and government from buying tech gear from firms deemed too close to authorities in China. When the bill surfaced, Pelco scrapped any thought of providing its new GPC Professional 4K camera to the U.S. government and lowered its sales goals. The reason: The device uses parts from HiSilicon, the chip division of Huawei Technologies Co. Huawei, China’s largest technology company, is the target of a broad U.S. crackdown over allegations it has stolen trade secrets, violated sanctions against Iran and sells equipment that could be used by the country’s Communist Party for spying.
Most of the focus is on Huawei telecom gear that helps run communications networks all over the world. But chips from the HiSilicon unit are also sparking concern because they power about 60 percent of surveillance cameras. That means Chinese chips process video from cameras that sit in places as varied as pizzerias, offices and banks across the U.S…”
Pew Research Center: “The 2020 U.S. presidential election is rapidly coming into view – and so is the electorate that will determine its outcome. While demographic changes unfold slowly, it’s already clear that the 2020 electorate will be unique in several ways. Nonwhites will account for a third of eligible voters – their largest share ever – driven by long-term increases among certain groups, especially Hispanics. At the same time, one-in-ten eligible voters will be members of Generation Z, the Americans who will be between the ages 18 and 23 next year. That will occur as Millennials and all other older generations account for a smaller share of eligible voters than they did in 2016…
We project that the 2020 election will mark the first time that Hispanics will be the largest racial or ethnic minority group in the electorate, accounting for just over 13% of eligible voters – slightly more than blacks. This change reflects the gradual but continuous growth in the Hispanic share of eligible voters, up from 9% in the 2008 presidential election and 7% in the 2000 election. The black eligible voter population has grown about as fast as the electorate overall, meaning their share has held constant at about 12% since 2000…”
BBC: To prepare for a future where AI will likely disrupt entire industries, some say we’ll have to rethink how we educate future generations – “Estimates about how much of the workforce could be automated vary from about 9% to 47%. The consultancy McKinsey estimates up to 800 million workers globally could be displaced by robotic automation by 2030. Some jobs will change dramatically, while others will disappear altogether. So if automation makes the job market a little like a game of musical chairs, is there a way to make sure you’re still employed when the music stops? Can education help you robot-proof your career? Future-proofing your career is less about picking a safe job and more about constantly updating your skills throughout your career, according to Northeastern University president Joseph Aoun, who wrote Robot-Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence. He says education needs to change dramatically if workers are to adapt to this new environment. His solution, which he calls humanics, has three basic pillars:
- Technical ability: understanding how machines function and how to interact with them. As both artificial intelligence and robotics become ever more capable, machines will step into roles once monopolised by humans. Some employees won’t last, but others will find themselves working with machines, and probably being vastly more productive as a result. Workers with a grounding in coding and engineering principles will be better placed to thrive in this new kind of workplace.
- Data discipline: navigating the sea of information that’s generated by these machines. Workers will need data literacy to read, analyse and use the almost bottomless troves of information that are increasingly guiding everything from major business decisions to stock picks to purchasing decisions.
- And the human discipline: “which is what we humans can do that machines for the foreseeable future, cannot emulate.” Aoun says this includes creativity, cultural agility, empathy and the ability to take information from one context and apply it to another. In educational terms, this means less emphasis on the classroom and a greater emphasis on experiential learning…”
Pew – The U.S. Public’s 2019 Policy Priorities: – Growing share sees ‘great deal of difference’ between the parties: “At the outset of Donald Trump’s third year in office, the public’s to-do list for the president and the 116th Congress spans domains with the economy, health care costs, education and preventing terrorism all cited as top priorities by majorities of Americans. The public’s agenda for the president and Congress is only modestly different from a year ago, but it reflects a continued evolution of the national agenda. Improving the economy (70% top priority) remains among the public’s highest priorities, but its prominence has waned significantly in recent years. In 2011, following the Great Recession, 87% called it a top priority. And as public ratings of the employment situation have grown increasingly positive, 50% now say improving the job situation should be a top priority; in each of the previous 10 years, majorities cited jobs as a top priority, including 84% who said this in 2011 and 68% who said this as recently as 2017. Most (67%) continue to say defending the country from future terrorist attacks is a top priority, though this is one of the lowest shares citing the issue since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and far lower than the roughly eight-in-ten who called it a top priority through much of the early to mid-2000s.
As economic and security concerns have become less prominent, the domestic issues of reducing health care costs (69% top priority) and improving the educational system (68%) now rank among the top tier of public priorities. About two-thirds also say that taking steps to make the Social Security (67%) and Medicare (67%) systems financially sound are top priorities for the country…”
“Unsolicited robocalls are the #1 source of consumer complaints to the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission. Hiya analyzes more than 11 billion incoming mobile calls per month globally and then leverages its proprietary rule-based algorithm to identify these calls for consumers. Hiya’s Robocall Radar is calculated by extrapolating the total number of unwanted robocalls detected among Hiya’s user base as compared to the entire US mobile subscriber base. Growth in total call volume and the numbers involved with these calls will vary month to month…”
Preferred citation: Alison J. Head, John Wihbey, P. Takis Metaxas, Margy MacMillan, and Dan Cohen, “How Students Engage with News: Five Takeaways for Educators, Journalists, and Librarians,” Project Information Literacy Research Institute. (October 16, 2018).
“The News Study research report presents findings about how a sample of U.S. college students gather information and engage with news in the digital age. Results are included from an online survey of 5,844 respondents and telephone interviews with 37 participants from 11 U.S. colleges and universities selected for their regional, demographic, and red/blue state diversity. A computational analysis was conducted using Twitter data associated with the survey respondents and a Twitter panel of 135,891 college-age people. Six recommendations are included for educators, journalists, and librarians working to make students effective news consumers. To explore the implications of this study’s findings, concise commentaries from leading thinkers in education, libraries, media research, and journalism are included.”
World Bank: “In many developing countries, women face significant barriers to their equal participation in society. While some of these barriers are easy to see, a new line of research is uncovering a surprising and less obvious possibility: the very structure of certain languages may shape gender norms in a way that limits women’s opportunities…At a recent Policy Research Talk, World Bank economist Owen Ozier delivered a crash course in linguistics and its relationship to gender norms and economic outcomes for women. According to Ozier, existing research has already hinted at a link between grammar and gender. Some languages—including Spanish and Russian, for example—classify nouns as either masculine or feminine (or sometimes even neuter). Recent experiments in political science have shown that gendered languages that classify nouns this way are associated with more regressive gender attitudes. Economics research has also found that recent immigrants to the United States tend to divide household tasks along more gendered lines if they speak a gendered language.
But Ozier and his colleague Pamela Jakiela of the Center for Global Development wanted more conclusive evidence, and in a new paper they document the results of a journey to identify the grammatical gender structure of 4,334 languages, together accounting for 99 percent of the world’s population. To achieve this linguistic feat, they drew not only on existing sources of information like the World Atlas of Language Structures, but also deep dives into textbooks and academic research as well as the knowledge of World Bank staff in offices as far flung as Fiji…”
The New York Times – Planning on quitting the social platform? A major new study offers a glimpse of what unplugging might do for your life. (Spoiler: It’s not so bad.) – “… A recent study found that the average user would have to be paid $1,000 to $2,000 to be pried away for a year. So what happens if you actually do quit? A new study, the most comprehensive to date, offers a preview. Expect the consequences to be fairly immediate: More in-person time with friends and family. Less political knowledge, but also less partisan fever. A small bump in one’s daily moods and life satisfaction. And, for the average Facebook user, an extra hour a day of downtime. The study, by researchers at Stanford University and New York University, helps clarify the ceaseless debate over Facebook’s influence on the behavior, thinking and politics of its active monthly users, who number some 2.3 billion worldwide. The study was posted recently on the Social Science Research Network, an open access site…”