“Although it is commonly thought of as a monolithic supercomputer, the Watson technology is a cognitive system that does not actually exist as a single entity. Through its developer cloud, IBM has already made available 13 different Watson APIs, each adept at a different specialty that developers can build on to create a cloud service. There’s one that’s a master of communication styles. There’s one that recognizes and analyzes visual input. There’s one that’s really good at weighing the pros and cons of a complex situation.

According to John Gordon, vice president of innovation for the IBM Watson Group, more than 6,000 beta apps have been built off the Watson Developer Cloud. The API that ROSS uses is called “Question and Answer.” Its strengths are very similar to those that helped Watson obliterate its competition on Jeopardy. It can understand a complex question, look through a vast database of stored documents and then give you, in simple, natural language, the right answer (or, in Jeopardy’s case, the right question).

Even so, it was up to the Ross team to help train Watson about legal principles or case law. “It was almost like an infant,” says Ovbiagele. “It didn’t know anything, so what we were tasked with doing was providing Watson information and teaching it how to read that information including laws, legislation and court decisions.” (…)

Of course, one question burns bright in the minds of recent law school grads—is Watson here to take away all the entry-level positions? Richard Susskind, an author who has been thinking, writing and talking about these issues for his entire career, repeatedly admonishes people in the legal profession not to try holding onto their grunt work.

“The law is no more there to provide a living for our lawyers than ill health is there to provide a living for doctors,” he recently told an audience at the University of Southampton. “It’s not the purpose of the law to keep lawyers in business.” ”

via IBM – The Atlantic Sponsor Content http://ow.ly/nIrZ301ZVgS

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