OH SNAP! – Expert Weighs in on Snapchat My AI

Recently, I was interviewed at the behest of Fox Business, by Kristen Altus on the topic of the impact of AI on children surrounding the Snapchat “My AI.” You can view and read the entire story below entitled, Tech experts warn Snapchat’s ‘My AI’ major ‘misstep’ has ‘dangers ahead’ for children. See the following video on my take about AI and kids.

Interview conducted by Kristen Altus.

Legal AI and Blockchain

Recently, Cointelegraph asked me several questions about the future of the legal space as it applies to both AI and blockchain. Here are my raw answers from later January 2023.

As you perhaps know, the developer of DoNotPay recently attempted to bring a robot lawyer into a physical courtroom. He was rebuffed. But will we soon have robot lawyers in the courtroom in the next year or two in your view?

Despite the fact that AI has hit an inflection point recently, it’s unlikely that we will see AI assistance directly interacting in the next year.  However, in the next two or three years I think it is highly possible select jurisdictions will test it.  The reason for the delayed acceptance is twofold.  Attorneys and the overall legal community, including the judicial system, tend to be extraordinarily risk adverse.  They have also created a guild which is very protective of its craft and people.  Combining the two and the idea that AI will act as a lawyer in the court room imminently is doubtful. 

That all said, a good percentage of prep work that litigators perform leverages AI behind the scenes in their research, and increasingly strategy.  Legal outcomes can now be empirically weighed via prediction models using similar natured, previously litigated cases, and their docket information by judge and jurisdiction.  This means that judges have patterns which can be extrapolated via AI, enabling strategy by savvy attorneys.  The logical next step is the presentation of facts and arguments, which is increasingly becoming feasible. 

Is it only a matter of time before large law firms cease to exist, in your view? If they do persist, will the nature of their work have changed?

I believe large swaths of legal jobs will be eliminated in the coming years for all firms.  Large law firms should be able to weather the storm better than most medium and small firms that don’t have a very specific niche.  Large law firms will survive by handling highly complex issues.  Across the industry, it’s the cookie cutter work that most firms do now, which will implode.  I’ve been advising law firms on the pending technological changes afoot which will vastly reduce the need for routine lawyerly work.  AI search, workflow, and automation tools combined with the recent large language model (LLM), designed generative AI, and natural language processing (NLP) models will birth more consumer and business to business websites that automate many aspects of the transactional practice.  Conversely, in litigation it is conceivable that a Kleros (decentralized alternative dispute resolution) system could be a model to resolve conflict rather than leveraging the courts.

You have also written that blockchain technology has potential to disrupt the legal sector. Will we soon see “smart contracts” replacing many lawyer written commercial contracts?

Absolutely, in the near future, many commercial contracts will be written as “smart contracts”.  I will take that one step further, NFTs (Non Fungible Tokens) will be the backbone of asset ownership, e.g. deed to your car or home.  It will be way more trackable and transferable.

Per the question about smart contracts, I authored this example of a contract which I think illustrates the future state of blockchain based legal agreements.  

Legal Smart Contract:

You are an attorney writing a Trust for your client. The Trust is simple and a tad ridiculous in this example. It stipulates that upon the parent’s death, their two kids must be married in order for them to split the estate. If one kid is married and the other kid is not, the kid that is married gets the entire estate. For simplicity the assets are all liquid in this example.

Where blockchain can improve this…

The Trust is written and then codified.  The code identifies the parameters that are contingencies or possibly subject to change.  Saved as a smart contract on a blockchain, it is now in an immutable state but has actionable items imbedded in it. The only people that have access to this document are the attorney that drew it up and her client. Once it is on the blockchain, the smart contract – with the coded parameters – starts checking every day through a trusted source, called an oracle (affirmed public record), to see if both parents are alive. One day the computer identifies that the parents have passed.  Heartless, the computer jumps to the next task to determine if both kids are married. Through another API computer call to that oracle, it finds out that one kid is married, and the other kid is not, and subsequently sends 100% of the liquid assets to the kid that is married – into their digital wallet. This is a self-executing smart contract on a blockchain where in the future state, no human (lawyer) intervention is needed.

Other ways that blockchain (possibly in tandem with AI) might further “democratize” legal services?

There are a handful of services akin to ChatGPT either out or coming out in the coming months.  The humanlike interaction of the chat will enable people without the resources to get better advice on legal issues than ever before.  I anticipate full catalogs of legal decisions combined with large language model (LLM) designed to use generative AI and natural language processing (NLP) to vastly improve access to justice and foster new LegalTech businesses that will offer up legal workflow at fractions of the cost of hiring an attorney today.  A very high percentage of legal work can be considered repetitive on the transactional side.

DAOs – could impact the way that businesses are formed, and lawyers will have to understand this shift.  This too could automate the way that companies are created and run. 

Are there concerns or dangers, though, in a world without lawyers?

Yes, no question there is significant risks in the early days under the use of both AI and blockchain, i.e. trusting in the code.  In the early phases of any technology, especially in the legal industry, mistakes are not acceptable.  To that end, this community will wade into the waters with less significant cases, e.g. parking tickets, before the more impactful issues, but those weighty cases will eventually come, once the others have been proven to work well. Bias will continue to come up as a real concern, but as long as it does, it will keep people focused on keeping it in check.

Will we ever be able to trust algorithms with the most complex legal cases, like sentencing decisions in capital cases?

I firmly believe in 15-20 years, we will trust algorithms to adjudicate the most complex legal cases.  My rationale is thus.  I believe more and more contracts will rely on code and increasingly become more universal.  There are communities working on a universal coding language for contracts which can be better understood by machines.  Over time that code will be more trustworthy, defined, and clear.  Ultimately, many matters could be weighed compared to other similar cases and possibly judged by a machine.  Additionally, with an increase reliance on digital data of every type, the availability of provable data will also increase.  At the very least, these algorithms will be a sort of augmented intelligence for judges to help them make a decision.

Unquestionably, the legal industry is primed to be significantly impacted by both AI and blockchain in the not-too-distant future.

Tech Snippets Today – Kore.ai – Prasanna Arikala – Chief Technology Officer, with Joseph Raczynski

AI is nonstop in the headlines these days. Conversational AI and Large Language Models lead the way with these discussions. Today, I had a very enjoyable conversation with Prasanna Arikala, Chief Technology Officer at Kore.ai. They are the the world leader in Conversational AI technology, helping companies deliver extraordinary experiences for their customers, agents, and employees on voice and digital channels.

Tech Snippets Today – CoreAVI – Kenneth Wenger – Senior Director, Research & Innovation, with Joseph Raczynski

AI is the topic du jour, and for good reason. According to my guest today, it will undoubtedly impact all of us fairly dramatically in the next few years. I am fortunate to have the author of “Is the Algorithm Plotting Against Us? A layperson’s guide to the concepts, math and pitfalls of AI. We discuss all scenarios of AI – no real impact, some pretty interesting impacts, and then then end of times.

Artificial intelligence is everywhere—it’s in our houses and phones and cars. AI makes decisions about what we should buy, watch, and read, and it won’t be long before AI’s in our hospitals, combing through our records. Maybe soon it will even be deciding who’s innocent, and who goes to jail . . .

But most of us don’t understand how AI works. We hardly know what it is.

In Is the Algorithm Plotting Against Us?, AI expert Kenneth Wenger deftly explains the complexity at AI’s heart, demonstrating its potential and exposing its shortfalls. Wenger empowers readers to answer the question—What exactly is AI?—at a time when its hold on tech, society, and our imagination is only getting stronger.

Book can be ordered here: www.workingfires.org

Tech Snippets Today – Baker Donelson – Justin Daniels – Shareholder & Attorney, with Joseph Raczynski

Baker Donelson has always been at the tip of the spear when it comes to their focus on blockchain and other digital assets in legal. Today, I spoke with Justin Daniels, Shareholder, Corporate M&A Technology Attorney and all around NFT, blockchain, and cybersecurity guru. Those are my words, not his.

What I enjoyed about the discussion was Justin’s focus on the importance of cybersecurity for all emerging technologies as they develop, not as an afterthought. We touch on the FTX fiasco, ChatGPT, and the future of identity.

Baker has a practice group called the Blockchain and Digital Assets Technology where attorneys offer clients multi-disciplinary representation in the growing area of blockchain and digital asset technology, including corporate and business matters, securities, Anti-Money Laundering and Know-Your-Customer (AML/KYC), money transmitter, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), cybersecurity, privacy, intellectual property, litigation, government relations, and public policy. Clients benefit from working with a group that understands the underlying technology to help frame the legal issues affecting blockchain and digital assets, enabling them to collaborate to develop thoughtful, effective business solutions.

Yes, AI has Made THE Leap!

For the past decade, I have been consistently extolling the virtues and concerns of the impending “Exponential Technology” era.  Well, it’s here. 

The first manifestation of this was OpenAI’s DALL-E product, which I encountered at an MIT conference in April 2022. DALL-E 2 is a website that allows users to type in concepts or phrases and instantly generate corresponding artwork or images in any desired form. The results can be continuously refined to produce truly extraordinary creations.

Here are a few examples:

“A hamburger in the shape of a Rubik’s cube, professional food photography”

Image credit: Michael Howe-Ely

“A BBQ that is alive, in the style of a Pixar animated movie”

Image credit: Michael Howe-Ely

I recently had the opportunity to present these ideas, along with their likely implications, to a legal audience at Thomson Reuters’ Synergy 2022 conference. It quickly became clear that the effects of this technology will extend far beyond the realm of law, touching upon fields as diverse as writing, coding, financial modeling, prediction markets, business planning, and more.

Just a few weeks after my presentation, OpenAI released ChatGPT, a tool that demonstrates similar capabilities with language as DALL-E 2 does with images. I have spent the past month experimenting with ChatGPT, and the results are nothing short of astounding. Though it is not yet perfect, ChatGPT is incredibly powerful and can produce impressive results with minimal input. For instance, within just ten seconds, it was able to generate a fully-fledged lease document, complete with all necessary parameters.

Here is an example.

Within 10 seconds a full lease is produced with all parameters added. Just a portion displayed below.

Similarly, ChatGPT was able to create code for a smart contract to establish a law firm’s own blockchain-based token system in just 15 seconds.  This one would allow for a law firm to have its own token, as an incentive for clients to use them, earning them a discount each matter they brought.

Having built these before, this was very impressive as a first pass and completed in 15 seconds.

It is becoming increasingly clear that AI will have a profound impact on “white collar” jobs in the coming years, contrary to the initial belief that it would primarily affect manual labor first. The potential implications of this technology are truly staggering and will likely bring about significant changes to the way we work and live.

There are a ton of other nuances to this, which I will be writing and vlogging about in the coming weeks.

Lawyers and the Metaverse

Interview from Asian Legal Business published April 2022

How did you discover your passion for all things innovation and technology related?

When I was a young boy, I watched a movie that transformed my life then and by happenstance altered my path forward.  War Games, starring Matthew Broderick was about an inquisitive kid who unintentionally almost started World War 3 by hacking into a U.S. Government mainframe computer.  Broderick’s approach to solving problems was mind altering for me at the time.  More than anything that movie taught me the power of creativity in thinking and designing processes to accomplish tasks in a novel way leveraging technology, sometimes with computer code, sometimes by tying disparate technologies together.  Since that day I have been immersed in technology, starting with the beginning of the Internet via BBS (Bulletin Boards), setting up networks, peer-to-peer file sharing, designing websites World Wide Web, testing of mining cryptocurrency, creating my own tokens, white hat hacking, and then tinkering with electronics of all sizes.  Eventually, I added the professional layers from an undergraduate degrees of economics and sociology and a Masters in Business Administration and eCommerce, combined with my own interests in geopolitical trends, finance, and the legal implications of it all.  All of this really excites me to no end!

You’ve written about the Metaverse and the preparedness of lawyers, how widespread do you think use of this will be in the near future, and how can lawyers make sure they are sufficiently prepared? 

If by the near future we are saying 3-5 years, I would say 100% that the Metaverse will be used in various forms by the majority of the population in the industrialized world.  It has already started.  There are two forces at play which are enabling the Metaverse; one, blockchain, which is a unique way to store information in a provable, unalterable way.  Secondly, the coming hardware is key.  Likely to hit the mainstream when Apple releases their Virtual Reality or Mixed Reality headset in the coming year or so, this will force all of us to head into the Metaverse.  Just for perspective, VR is fully immersive, while MR allows you to see the physical world and places digital imagery on top of that.   

I have likely spoken to thousands of lawyers over the last several years.  Extraordinarily bright to a one that I have interacted with, the one limiting factor in this sense, is their dedication to their own craft.  Meaning, most often and understandably, they do not have the time to pick up their heads and see what is coming.  All of these emerging technologies will impact their practice in some way, as well as the business of law.  At a minimum, lawyers need the opportunity to focus on the big four: AI, Blockchain, Workflow, and the grab bag of General Emerging Technology.  There are a multitude of places to learn about these things, including at Joetechnologist.com but I would include some of the classics with Google alerts, Twitter threads on these topics and magazines like Wired, which should be a staple for everyone.

What kind of opportunities could the Metaverse give lawyers?

Imagine a world, much like what we have now, but only digital.  It is nearly as immersive and interactive, and then extrapolate out all the problems, issues, benefits, and challenges we have currently in real life, and think about where lawyers play a role.  It will be similar.  In the beginning much of legal’s play will be on IP issues and copyright.  Soon thereafter, insurance and contractual disagreements will ensue, but these contract issues could be interesting because of the nature of the platform a metaverse will be built upon.  Since it should rely on blockchain and smart contracts, these disputes could likely be easier to solve at the lower tier, leaving lawyers to resolve more complex issues.  

We’ve heard that tech adoption rapidly increased during the pandemic — what are some of the significant ways this has changed the way lawyers work, or indeed the legal profession?

The adoption of technology has been fascinating to watch across the legal landscape over the last two years.  My favorite part was how lawyers who were technologically phobic were gently pushed into the space and most thrived.  Bigger picture, the acceptance and now reliance on the Cloud has been massive.  Once upon a time, most law firms would have shuttered at the thought of its use.  Now Cloud has become nearly ubiquitous.  With that adoption has come greater use of workflow tools around document automation processing transactional documents much faster and more reliably for clients.  I have also seen greater openness to this idea of a Legal Platform, meaning an ecosystem like a portal which is first secure, yet open to applications, that can be used in a “containerized” fashion.  What that means are apps that are interoperable and secure, resulting in greater efficiency and productivity.  The last area of growth was around law firms open to APIs, or data feeds which allows them to bring in information, comingle it with their own, create new workflows, and leverage out of the box analytics tools to garner greater insights into both the business and the practice of law.

What can lawyers do to ensure they access all opportunities offered by the variety of tech innovations?

I firmly believe lawyers need to dedicated time, almost every day, be it 30 minutes, to read up on current awareness in technology.  Some days they will find a topic they could spend a week on, but they should try to unpack that in time, to better position themselves for the future of the industry, and more tangibly, in the short term to help their clients.

How does our engagement with digital worlds/environments shape the way we work and the kind of work we carry out?

If we presume we are moving increasingly into a digital world, then every nuance surrounding that space will become increasingly important.  Start with AI.  Algorithms will increasingly be able to make decisions for us.  Yes, this includes much of the lawyerly work out there.  These algos start of simply, but will become far more complex, freeing us from some decisions or work.  Stack on top of that blockchain, which is a trustless (trusted) database, meaning both AI and blockchain can work in tandem to begin doing some pretty impressive workflows that are automated.  When we move into the Metaverse for both fun and business, everything can be quantified, e.g. the house, shoes, art, tickets to a concert, via an NFT (Non-Fungible Token) which uses a blockchain.  Processes will increasingly be leveraging data and AI to make decisions which will rely less on human intervention.  I know this can sound frightening, and it could be, which is why as this progresses, we need the best legal minds to understand the implications, yet keep a progressive mindset to guide the path forward.  We do not merely wish to replicate everything we have in the real world, but try to evolve it to the best we humanly can, until AI takes over, kidding, not kidding. 

Top 10 err.. 16 LegalTech Talks of 2021! Now available!

The list is out!  Last year was an amazing one for LegalTech talks and thought leadership.  I presented over 70 times on Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, AI, Workflow, and the Legal Platform.  It was also a fascinating year where edgy concepts entered the LegalTech space, including the Metaverse and NFTs.  In all likelihood, these will continue to flourish in 2022.

If you’re game, you can watch the top sessions from the past year on a huge swath of LegalTech and general tech topics below:


Preparing Now for the Legal Technology Landscape in the Decades Ahead

Innovation in the Legal Industry

Dauntless Assent Into Legal Innovation

Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, DAOs, NFTs, Metaverse:

An Introduction to the Impact of Blockchain on Legal

Blockchain 2.0 Advanced Blockchain – Case Studies and the Evolution

Cryptocurrency Fundamentals

Cryptocurrency, DeFi, NFTs and the Metaverse

The Future of Contracts

Emerging Technology Conference on Blockchain and the Metaverse

Understanding Digital Identity & Its Impact on Legal

Artificial Intelligence:

Breaking Down AI – The Underlying Language and Technology of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence and the Impact of Exponential Technology on Legal


The State of Cybersecurity in Legal

The Dark Web — The Evolving Landscape and its Impact on the Legal Industry

Legal Platform & APIs

Legal Platforms, APIs, and the REvolution of Whizzbang LegalTech


Fundamentals of Cloud Computing

Podcast: The Hearing – Andy Wishart, CPO Agiloft

From the producer… This week, Joe takes a break from legal futurology and tries his hand at being a pub singer. We’re here for it. And so (much to his horror) is Andy Wishart – Chief Product Officer at Agiloft and all round technology guru.

Joe and Andy discuss the beginnings of Contract Express, Andy’s 21 years in legal tech, and the changes and challenges he’s seen along the way. They also chat about the power of document automation, how the legal industry has evolved alongside this technology and Andy’s rather cool career journey.

If you’re one for tech leaders in band t-shirts, Scottish accents (good and bad) or just want to know more about lawtech’s underground karaoke scene, this episode is for you. You’ll also hear some rather excellent efficiency advice too.

Listen Here:

Apple Podcasts – https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/ep-84-andy-wishart-agiloft/id1389813956?i=1000536724372

Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/episode/7opWHeuPOO8Sjux4WpGstX

SoundCloud – https://soundcloud.com/user-264672855/the-hearing-episode-84-andy-wishart-agiloft

3 Geeks and A Law Blog – The Geek in Review Ep. 128 – Joseph Raczynski – The Red and Blue Pill Matrix of AI and Emerging Legal Tech

This was a ton of fun! I had the chance to record this “holding Joe’s feet to the fire” 😉 conversation about the future of legal industry and where we all may be going with dynamic duo of Marlene Gebauer and Greg Lambert. Thanks to both of them for the opportunity to go down the rabbit hole of technology and the legal industry!


The Geek in Review Ep. 128 – Joseph Raczynski – The Red and Blue Pill Matrix of AI and Emerging Legal Tech