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.
This is Urban Fantasist
Barrister and Reuters correspondent turned writer, award-winning tech journalist, radio presenter, podcaster, and sometime werewolf-hunter Charles Christian chronicles his adventures in the worlds of writing, radio, geek, tech, media, marketing, music, and the weird. The site also has links to all Charles Christian's books including fiction and nonfiction, plus the latest reviews.
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Episode 37 (11th October 2018) of the Weird Tales Radio Show podcast (available now on iTunes, Spotify, YouTube etc) looks at the folklore surrounding bird migration in autumn – do Barnacle Geese really come from barnacles? We go urban mythbusting as we examine the demonic legend associated with Bleeding Heart Yard in London. And we have four Practical Magick Spells for the Autumn.
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