Enterprise hits and misses – can AI save the legal system? And who will save software user events?


This week: AI’s disruptive impact on the legal system (and hacking it from within). Also: why software user events need a rethink. Your whiffs include failed Twitter apps, and robots flipping burgers (and humans).

Cheerful Chubby ManLead story – AI’s rising challenge to the core legal system – by Chris Middleton

MyPOV: Chris shifts his cautionary AI tales to the legal quagmire system. Yes, we should avoid Terminator-style AI hyperbole, but: Chris came back from a London AI event with a doozy of a question.

What if an autonomous system is designed to kill?

Now we’re in the land of moral hazards, algorithmic burdens, and a gray area galore. Example:

What is the way we code an object or person as a reasonable target of attack? There are all sorts of moral issues bound up with that.

But the more pressing question is the “dilution of human control, and therefore of human moral agency.” Now, most enterprises outside of Aerospace and Defense won’t have to confront the question of killing. But there’s plenty of scenarios where human agency will need to be programmed in. Then there’s the automated career gap between trainees and old fogies managers, which is impacting the legal profession at a rapid rate:

Kemp Little’s Joint explained how when he was a junior lawyer his job was to read masses of case histories – a task that can now be completely automated.

Chris sees a problem with “asking AI to fill that gap and help us make critical decisions.” I do too. That’s where the action is.

Happy children eating appleDiginomica picks – my top three stories on diginomica this week

JC Penney axes dedicated omni-channel exec role while bigging-up need for omni-channel futureStuart parses a head-scratching move from a retail flounderer: “JC Penney needs to sell more stuff, not fiddle about with the executive line up and shave $20 million off of costs. And to sell more stuff, it needs to have more stuff that people actually want to buy.” Ouch! Stuart’s final twist of the analytical knife:

We’re not trying to be Amazon.

On the second point at least, JC Penney is succeeding…

Oh boy. For a (slightly) happier omni-tale, check Stuart’s The integration imperative at Nordstrom – striking the omni-channel balance.

Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here’s my three top choices from our vendor coverage:

Jon’s grab bag – Den got a different view of the legal system than Chris, but with some intriguing AI parallels, in Lawyers and code – who’da thunk? Yet Global Legal Hackathon hailed as success. (No final confirmation on whether Den’s team was misguided clever desperate savvy enough to let him flex his coding chops).

Speaking of legal spankings, looks like the EU has cleared laps and grabbed paddles for our sanctimonious tech overlords Silicon’s biggest. Derek’s got the story in Amazon, Google and Facebook in line for new EU tech giant tax. Finally, if you want a bit more of my particular brand of vinegar – or if you simply want to have a great analyst day and not a craptastic one, take a gander at my How to screw up a vendor analyst day – in 12 simple steps.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer Lead story – Musings – Time to bring back the software user conference by Holger Mueller

myPOV: The software user conference has lost its way. Constellation’s Holger Mueller has some unexpected ideas on how to bring it back, such as: curtail the late night parties and cut down on the philanthropic time suck during keynotes? As Frank Scavo put it, that’s the iconoclastic Mueller style. Mueller is really talking about cutting down on fawning celebrity cheese, and focusing on the low-key payoff of users connecting with users. Mueller:

There is instant validation, trust and respect from a user to another user presenting. There is direct bonding of being in the same boat and sharing experiences from that. No celebrity can do that. Glamour effects don’t last.

Or as I said during an extended Twitter hash:

Honorable mention


Overworked businessmanShall we start with a few ludicrous linkbaiters? How about:

I took to Twitter for satire and service, and did quite a lot better with the former. The latter:

Cue the chirp of crickets and the sourpuss aftertaste of the supposedly powerful social consumer (though I’m not done with my bank just yet). Satire worked out better:

I won’t call this a cheap shot but it was certainly target practice:

Meanwhile, Brian Sommer breathed new life in my 2014 piece on how to botch a customer use case with this doozie:

Hmmm – 1,400 to 1 is not such a great ratio. Brian – hopefully that one live customer is at least on the blockchain?

I could actually use your help with this one:

Am I wrong here? If Flippy cooks the meat to gristled perfection, what else in the kitchen is safe from automation? Maybe the gourmet kitchen of the future has people in it, but does Caliburger? So the machine needs human help – not for the skill of cooking – but putting the raw patties on the grill? Nahh, that can’t possibly be automated. So that’s the human cook of the future? I’d seek another automation island if I were a burger patty placer.

Finally, I am still grappling with this:

“Hootsuite Helpers” are an enthusiastic and responsive bunch, which ups the absurdity factor. What is a Twitter app without notifications? That’s a full-on neutering right? Why not just take the app out of its misery? Yep, it’s Old Yeller time for Hootsuite’s Twitter app I’m afraid (but evidently things are going great on Instagram!).

HootSuite has an explanation for why they did this, but get this: they WILL ONLY share it by email. That’s right, a social media company can only communicate via email. You can’t make this stuff up. I don’t know what the email says as Google (wisely?) blocks them. Stay tuned as I circle the bowl…

If you find an #ensw piece that qualifies for hits and misses – in a good or bad way – let me know in the comments as Clive (almost) always does.

Most Enterprise hits and misses articles are selected from my curated @jonerpnewsfeed. ‘myPOV’ is borrowed with reluctant permission from the ubiquitous Ray Wang.

Image credit - Cheerful Chubby Man © RA Studio, Happy Children © Anna Omelchenko, Waiter Suggesting Bottle © Minerva Studiom, Overworked Businessman © Bloomua, Winter Sports © lassedesignen - all from Fotolia.com.

Disclosure - SAP, Oracle, Workday, Acumatica and Salesforce are diginomica premier partners as of this writing.