As 2016 ends, we look at what Robots and AI can already do: they sleigh us with their neural Christmas tunes
As we enter the final years of humanity and the March of the Robots and Artificial Intelligence gains momentum, we look back on some of the things they've already achieved. Er, such as Santa's sleigh being pulled by Boston Dynamics robot reindeer – and AI researchers at the University of Toronto training a neural network to create a Christmas song based on visual images and online music sources...
Earlier this week the UK Minister of State for Digital & Culture Matt Hancock said Israel was ripe for creating disruption in the global law profession at an inaugural legal tech event held in Tel Aviv.
The RT Hon Matt Hancock in his second visit this year to the “startup nation” hosted a roundtable of leading Israeli players in the emerging Legal Tech industry on Tuesday night hosted by Barclays (20 December). The Minister said the UK legal profession was notoriously slow to change, but that the potential of technology - from the UK or abroad - to transform the industry was inevitable “as every other industry has been disrupted”.
The inaugural UK-Israel Tech Initiative involved an intimate discussion on the future of law and technology bringing together: Minister for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock, British Ambassador to Israel David Quarrey, Ilan Admon CTO and Co-Founder of AI contract review and negotiation software LawGeex, Noory Bechor, CEO of LawGeex (and former corporate lawyer at Meitar Liquornik Geva & Leshem Brandwein), Len Rosen CEO Barclays Capital Israel, Professor Niva Elkin Koren, Director Haifa Center for Law and Technology, Jeremy Lustman, Partner and head of DLA Piper’s Israel Country Group, Zohar Fisher of the Tech and Law community in Israel, Yoram HaCohen, President of the Israeli Internet Association, and Michael Goren-Miller, Legal Advisor to Digital Israel.
CEO of LawGeex Noory Bechor said: “We are one of a number of firms revolutionizing the legal world through innovative technology. Using the latest advances in AI, our contract review and negotiation platform allows lawyers to automatically review and approve standard contracts at a speed and scale that humans cannot achieve. This frees up lawyers’ time to focus on deep and more complex advice to clients.”
Ilan Admon, CTO of LawGeex, added: “It was an extremely frank and open discussion and a great honor that the Minister came to Israel to learn about the best technology and the future for disruption in the legal market.”
RT Honourable Matt Hancock said: “I admire the tenacity and drive of the Israeli tech community. Of all the places we have to compete to be the best place to set up the leading tech firms, we have one really difficult competitor in Israel and that is why I come here so often, to find out what you are up to.”
Picture Noory Bechor CEO of LawGeex with RT Honourable Matt Hancock - we'll leave you to guess who is the startup techie and who is the government minister.
COMMENT: Well good news for LawGeex but hello minister, shouldn't you be promoting the UK legal tech startup scene?
For the lawyer who has everything – or at least more money than taste (and we quote)...
"A delightful Victorian fireside wing chair with a twist, The Barrister chair has been lovingly restored then reupholstered in a quirky mix of charcoal pinstriped suiting and black patent leather piping, paired with hand-applied matching black patent leather-wrapped legs. Dressed with genuine barrister bands and scroll arms and neck, the crowning glory of The Barrister chair is its traditional detachable court gown, which graces the chair with a statuesque presence worthy of any court room. Exposed and encased 'time capsules' are integrated into each side of the chair, showcasing an eclectic mix of genuine antique hand-written legal notes circa 1850, wax-sealed documents and a judge’s wig to finish off this truly one-off piece."
A snip at £6110.00 (US$7560.00)
Great cartoon in the New Yorker by Emily Flake - the caption reads "I don't want to alarm you but I'm pretty sure I heard the Elf on the Shelf speaking in Russian!"
We reported last month that Adobe had added a neat free scan-to-PDF facility to its Adobe Acrobat Reader app but what if you want to move in the opposite direction – from PDF to another file format?
One option is to go with Adobe, who offer a number export options (to Text, Word & Excel) but at a cost – you will need to sign up for an annual subscription, currently £17.99 pa UK prices. (In fact until recently the scan-to-PDF facility was also only available on subscription.) However there are plenty of alternatives out there and the best we've found is PDF Converter Ultimate - All In One Converter from Cometdocs.com Inc.
Although only the basic convert-to-PDF functionality is free, the app (for Andoid & iOS – the latter both iPad & iPhone) offers such a range on conversion options (both in terms of file formats it converts to PDF andgoing the other way – not just to Text, Word and Excel but also PowerPoint, JPEG and even AutoCad) that it becomes a no-brainer purchasing decision. You can buy individual conversion upgrades as in-app purchases for $9.99 however the cheaper option is to go for the All Conversions option at $49.99 (UK £39.99) – and this is a one-off fee, not an annual charge.
In terms of using the app, simplicity itself – as long as you remember everything must be done from within the app.
For example, if your target file is stored in Dropbox (the app also supports other popular cloud storage options) you can't simply click on a PDF file and then look for a "convert to" menu option, you must first open the file within Dropbox but via the app and then select the flavour of conversion. Cometdocs say they are likely to add a FAQs/user manual in a subsequent app patch/update although once you start using the app regularly, the app becomes second nature.
What else do you need to know? There are no limits on file sizes or the number of files you can convert. Better still, all the heavy lifting processing takes place in the cloud using Cometdocs own servers and OCR engines, so there is no burden on your device – or its battery consumption. On a security note, Cometdocs add that once the converted file is downloaded to the user's device, it is deleted from their servers.
Verdict: if you work with documents on your mobile and need to embrace the PDF file format, this is a no-brainer app to buy.
Links: Apple iTunes/App Store + Google Play Store + www.cometdocs.com
A few months ago I was having a rant about the squalid state of the loos on Greater Anglia trains and said they were worse than Albanian trains, which at least had running water even if you did have to use goats as hand-dryers. Now illustrator Hotten Cross (geddit - motto "reimagining your commute so you don't have to") has drawn a cartoon based on my tweet. Small sheep would also work.
Blockchain Expo has announced the first conference speakers for Blockchain Expo taking place in Olympia London, 23-24 January 2017.
The inaugural event will feature industry thought leaders including; Paul Kammerer, Specialist Corporate Strategy, Commerzbank AG, Mark Simpson, Innovation Engineering, RBS, Neil Pennington, Director of Innovation (UK) nPower, Jason Leibowitz, Distributed Ledger & Blockchain Strategist, Credit Suisse, Joe Roets, Senior Software Architect, The Walt Disney Company, Yisel Cho, Blockchain Specialist, HSBC and Johnny Voon, Lead Technologist at Innovate UK.
Blockchain Expo will explore the developing and most-cutting edge blockchain technologies with over 60 speakers and expects more than 1500 attendees from across the globe. Specific blockchain developer sessions are also available.
Industries including financial services, healthcare, insurance, energy, music, government and real estate are set to be shaken by the introduction of blockchain technologies and Blockchain Expo is set to explore the future impact upon security, workflow and processes across these sectors.
Blockchain Expo London 2017 will offer attendees:
- World-class case study led content from leading brands
- More than 20 sessions exploring the blockchain ecosystem across industry
- Opportunities to learn how their own industry will be impacted by blockchain adoption
- Networking opportunities to build partnerships in the blockchain space
- Interact with exhibitors and startups who are setting the precedent
- Access to co-hosted IoT Tech Expo event with more than 4,000 attendees and 150+ exhibitors
Attendees can take advantage of an exclusive Gonzo News 20% discounted price on a full conference pass: use the code GONZO20 Free Expo passes are also available. To find out more visit: http://www.blockchain-expo.com/
LexisNexis Australia has collaborated with the Australian Human Rights Commission to develop RightsApp, which is claimed to bethe world’s first mobile application that allows users to quickly and easily search international human rights conventions and declarations by topic and right.
Launched by the Commission President Professor Gillian Triggs, RightsApp contains the text of some of the world’s most important international human rights treaties and agreements, as well as signatory information and relevant United Nations committees’ general comments.
“RightsApp is a significant breakthrough in ensuring that vital information and resources are readily available and easily accessible to individuals so they can understand their rights. It will also assist businesses, employers and community groups to check their obligations under international human rights law,” says Professor Triggs.
The App sets out Australia’s and other nation’s responsibilities across a broad cross section of human rights treaties such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Punishment.
“Every day, in virtually every country around the world we hear or read about a human rights issue. It is something that affects us all and something that more and more businesses are focusing on. That’s why LexisNexis collaborated with the Human Rights Commission to develop this simple to use tool which makes it easy for people to understand and exercise their rights and responsibilities under international law. And because it is free it is available for everyone,” says Joanne Beckett, Managing Director LexisNexis Australia.
“Our mission at LexisNexis is to be the world leader in developing ground-breaking technology and tools that not only improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our clients’ businesses, but also to develop the tools and resources that can make a positive contribution to our community. In this case by giving people equal access to the rights they are entitled to, regardless of their status. This is why LexisNexis is so proud to have partnered with the Commission to develop RightsApp, a world first App that has the potential to dramatically change a person’s life for the better,” Ms Beckett added.
RightsApp is available for free from the Apple App Store.
We love the new banner for the 2017 SCI-FI-LONDON Film Festival (27 April - to - 6 May). We're also got some exciting news about the Flash Fiction Challenge – further details soon.
Guest cybersecurity comment by Tim Hyman* of 2Twenty4 Consulting
The General Data Protection Regulations are the most significant development in data protection that Europe, possibly the world, has seen over the past twenty years. There is a much greater emphasis on accountability and the principle aim is to move control back to the end user or data subject. To reinforce this there are many new auditable obligations and whilst the maximum penalty of 4% of global revenue grabs the headlines there are a number of other significant changes.
One of these relates to the lesser known penalty of 2% of global revenue for administrational non-compliance. New powers of audit mean that a data breach is not required before penalties kick in, lack of the appropriate documentation and/or protective processes are enough to warrant penalty. The person responsible for overseeing and maintain the new compliance requirements is the DPO or Data Protection Officer.
Not all businesses will be obliged to appoint one but even those that do not will still need someone to monitor compliance and take responsibility for data processing records and liaising with the authorities and data subjects.
GDPR states that a firm will require the appointment of a DPO in the following circumstances:
Data controllers (law firms) and processors (cloud service providers) shall designate a data protection officer in any case where:
• the processing is carried out by a public authority or body
• the core activities of the controller or the processor consist of processing operations which, by virtue of their nature require regular and systematic monitoring of data subjects on a large scale; or
• the core activities of the controller or the processor consist of processing on a large scale of special categories of data pursuant to Article 9
For law firms, it is the latter of these categories that will almost certainly apply. Having someone responsible for Data Protection is nothing new and it should be a straight forward conversion from the existing COLP or Head of Compliance to the new formal DPO role.
The duties of the DPO are unsurprising but with the additional requirement to deliver internal user awareness which when aligned with existing Information Security education will be a welcome addition to other compulsory learning participation such as anti-money laundering. DPO duties include:
• to inform and advise the law firm of their obligations pursuant to this Regulation;
• to monitor compliance with GDPR,
• awareness-raising and training of staff
• internal audits
• to provide advice regarding the data protection impact assessment and monitor its performance
• to cooperate and act as the contact point with the supervisory authority;
Perhaps more interesting however, and the reason for a close IT/DPO alliance going forward are the new obligations of a business regarding the role.
LAW FIRM OBLIGATIONS
All firms will have the following obligations to a DPO when in existence:
• ensure that the data protection officer is involved in all issues which relate to the protection of personal data (this will include IT solutions and services)
• provide resources necessary to carry out those tasks and access to personal data and processing operations,
• He or she shall not be dismissed or penalised by the firm for performing his tasks.
• report to the highest management level of the firm
The fact that a firm is obliged to ‘provide the resources necessary’ represents an excellent opportunity for IT to work with the DPO to achieve the appropriate budget and resources to deliver a robust Information Governance strategy – something that IT Directors have been struggling to justify on best practice principles as opposed to obligation.
So, with the DPO responsible for ensuring appropriate data protection measures are in place and with the new power to ensure resources are provided, a much closer alliance between IT and Risk will be the ideal way to provide the technical and legal expertise required to ensure compliance.
This is also borne out in the work needed to prepare the business for the May 29 2018 compliance deadline. To develop a GDPR Compliance Plan, it is first necessary to document current data practices and processes and understand any risk. This is achieved by first carrying out an Impact Assessment which can be broken down into three phases, Discovery, Risk Assessment and Mitigation Planning.
A Data Protection Impact Assessment is a tool designed to enable firms to work out the risks that are inherent in proposed data processing activities before either the legislation deadline in May or in future when planning a new system or process. This, in turn, enables firms to address and mitigate those risks before the processing begins.
It may also even be mandatory as where a new processing activity is proposed (especially where new technologies will be used) resulting in a high degree of risk for data subjects, the controller must first conduct an Impact Assessment. A single Impact Assessment can cover multiple processing operations that present similar risks.
Essentially the Impact Assessment has 3 key activities:
Data Mapping: A comprehensive and documented survey of all systems and processes where personal data is at play
Risk Assessment: An assessment of potential non-compliance based on the findings of the data and process mapping
Mitigation Plan: A documented approach to the risks discovered using a REMOVE, REMEDIATE or ACCEPT approach.
GDPRREADY COMPLIANCE FRAMEWORK
To assist firms with the initial preparation phase including the Impact Assessment we have developed a GDPRready Compliance framework that has 4 key phases
Step 1 – EDUCATE
GDPR Overview Workshop - an onsite workshop to build GDPR awareness and secure buy-in with your key internal stakeholders, custom-tailored to the needs of your firm.
GDPR Assessment workshop - A workshop for internal staff responsible for owning the assessment process.
Step 2 – DISCOVER
Impact Assessment – using our GDPRready Data Register and GDPRready Impact assessment templates you will document, data flows, gap analysis, risk assessment and remediation plans.
Step 3 – PLAN
GDPR Preparation Plan – document actions needed to prepare for and maintain GDPR compliance. Understand budget required and systems and processes that require modification.
Step 4 – MAINTAIN
Maintain compliance by aligning processes with our 12 best practice Information Security policies
GDPR is only 18 months away and any firm that has already started an Impact Assessment will know that they need all the time available to prepare. This a business project, owned at board room level but best managed and delivered by the IT/Risk team. This is an excellent opportunity for IT to provide leadership in a high-profile business project, get budget for Information Governance projects and now mandatory Security Awareness training and provide Impact Assessment advice to the firm’s clients. The Data Protection Officer will have a far reaching range of new responsibilities and powers – make them your best friend.
* Tim Hyman is also producing The Essential Guide to GDPR - email HERE for details.
Greg Bufithis, a writer, digital/telecom attorney and founder of GP Media Studios/The Project Counsel Group has just reported back from attending the annual Slush event in Helsinki last week...
"More than 17,500 people came to Helsinki for the annual Slush event which matches startups with investors. Bigger than almost any other event, the 2300+ startups came from around the world to match-make with 1100+ investors, plus attendees that just want to see the next "new new thing".
Held at the Messukeskus Convention Centre ("cyberpunk gothic-tech" as noted by many) it was wall-to-wall with applications that ranged from AI applied text analytics/text extraction to augmented reality to chat bots to food to robotics. I think after Brexit and Trump it was an affirmation that technology and innovation is thriving in a country that gave birth to Linux (still the most influential operating system in the world) and Nokia. Oh, and Angry Birds. Oh, and Clash of the Clans, too.
"As I have written before, European technology (and more generally, technology outside of the U.S.) has now broken the mould of trying to be the next Silicon Valley and created its own identity and momentum. U.S. companies ... Apple, Cisco, Facebook, Google, IBM, Microsoft, etc., etc. ... were here in force because as one attendee told me:
"there are something like 4.8 million professional developers in Europe compared to 4.1 million in the U.S. Given Trump's threats to curtail work visas, we need to be here looking for talent for our research and development centers."
"As I have noted before, in the last two years U.S. companies have opened more new R&D centers in Europe than in the U.S. or anywhere else in the world."
The Slush event is described as a Burning Man meets TED event (with rock music) and is now Europe's leading event for startups and the focal point for the Euro tech scene. The 2017 Slush event is scheduled for November 30 to 1 December 2017.
Another event Greg recommends is the Cannes Lions conference for the advertising and media industries, but which also has a big focus on the impact of technology, the visualization of data, creativity, and how to create a high level of quality storytelling. The next Cannes Lions runs 17 to 24 June 2017
The owner of my local art supplies shop found this hare as roadkill, had it preserved by a professional taxidermist and now it enjoys a degree of immortality as a model for artists and sculptors.
Just another quiet uneventful evening, in a quiet south Norfolk town - plus a few Molly Men (and Women)
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In Episode 65 of the Weird Tales Radio Show Janie has a round-up of weird news from around the world and takes a skeptical look at Romanian witches on the web, the latest yeti sightings and an online love spells scam. And we also revisit the medieval tale of the Green Children of Woolpit - was this an early close encounter with aliens, the Fae or merely displaced orphans of war?
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