The LegalOps Highlight is a bi-weekly blog series that features relevant news, market trends and legal technology updates from the legal ecosystem. The content is curated from legal and business trade publications, consulting and analyst firms, and Onit SimpleLegal partners, customers and subject matter experts. Be sure to subscribe to our blog and follow SimpleLegal and #LegalOpsHighlight on LinkedIn and Twitter for updates! Corporate Counsel magazine reporters spoke to several general counsel about what they say will impact their work and the legal industry. From outside counsel merging with other law firms to the use of artificial intelligence to keep down legal department costs, this article outlines some of the trends in-house counsel may find themselves dealing with in the new year.
Alphabet, the tech giant formerly known as Google, on Thursday night became the fourth company in history to reach a trillion-dollar (£776bn) valuation. In less than 24 hours, some analysts were predicting that the company, founded in a messy Silicon Valley garage 21 years ago, could double in value again to become a $2tn firm "in the near future". The consensus among Wall Street bankers is nothing can stop the runaway share price rises of Alphabet or the other so-called "Faang" tech companies. Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google have seen their combined market value increase by $1.3tn over the past year – that's the equivalent of adding half the value of all the companies in the FTSE 100, or the entire GDP of Mexico. "It's such a phenomenally large number that it's difficult for most of us even to quantify the value," said Paul Lee, the global head of technology research at Deloitte.
Until recently, Hoan Ton-That's greatest hits included an obscure iPhone game and an app that let people put Donald Trump's distinctive yellow hair on their own photos. Then Mr. Ton-That -- an Australian techie and onetime model -- did something momentous: He invented a tool that could end your ability to walk down the street anonymously, and provided it to hundreds of law enforcement agencies, ranging from local cops in Florida to the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security. His tiny company, Clearview AI, devised a groundbreaking facial recognition app. You take a picture of a person, upload it and get to see public photos of that person, along with links to where those photos appeared. The system -- whose backbone is a database of more than three billion images that Clearview claims to have scraped from Facebook, YouTube, Venmo and millions of other websites -- goes far beyond anything ever constructed by the United States government or Silicon Valley giants.
Current chart sensations Lizzo and Billie Ellish don't stand on stage with guitars around their neck like Eric Clapton, Slash from Guns N' Roses or Bruce Springsteen did (and still do.) So what are guitar makers to do to keep their factories humming? Turn to streaming, classic rock and YouTube to reach tomorrow's guitar player. The NAMM show, a collection of music store operators, music professionals and tens of thousands of fans is concluding this weekend here, where guitars of every color and imaginable shape were on display. The goal for many guitar makers: to either get older folks to spring out more money to add even more guitars to the collection, or better yet, get tomorrow's generation excited to start playing with new shapes.
An understanding of technologies like AI and a strong command of human soft skills will be a key theme in the C-level workforce over the next decade, according to a new survey from LinkedIn. Over half of the more than 14,000 survey respondents indicated that a purpose driven and caring mindset was the number one quality leaders should strive for, followed by an ability to embrace technology and a willingness to be agile and nimble. Soft skills -- like emotional intelligence and the ability to be motivated, engaging, and inspiring -- will remain an important trait for leaders over the course of the decade, the survey found. Notably, the survey also found that a majority of employees feel like they're taking more definitive action compared to their leadership when it comes to actually implementing these traits and preparing for the future of work. "The world of work is changing rapidly, and leaders need to adapt their own skills and mindsets to address future trends and challenges," LinkedIn wrote in a blog post outlining the survey findings.
There are many opinions about how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is going to change the world with expectations about its capabilities for now and in the future. AI simply refers to intelligence displayed by machines in contrast to that displayed by humans. Although humans are intelligent, they cannot be programmed to exceed their current capabilities in the same way a machine can. This has led to the creation of smart machines that handle tasks otherwise difficult for humans to handle efficiently. Artificial intelligence is gradually becoming a constant presence in many technological applications.
Smart utility metering for power, gas and water, and video surveillance will remain by far the largest smart city segment, representing 87 per cent of the total number of smart city connections by 2026. This is according to new analysis by ABI Research. While metering is mainly focused on usage monitoring, savings and efficient operation of utility networks, video surveillance is no longer just about security and crime detection and prevention, ABI Research's Smart Cities market data report finds. Video surveillance is increasingly enabling new applications like urban tolling and the monitoring of low-emission zones to reduce air pollution, mainly in Europe. These systems use licence plate recognition to identify older vehicles banned from entering the zone.
A media artist, Refik Anadol, has been doing some great stuff creating beautiful pieces of art. I recently ran into his interview with Wired (linked) and started questioning the point of A.I. in his work. What is the wisdom of this crowd on the A.I. piece of his work? Do you think that's a gimmick? I have a feeling that even if you feed random numbers, they will eventually control how the visuals are going to look like so neither A.I., nor data actually may matter.
If the sun throws out a radiation blast of satellite-killing proportions someday, Amazon Web Services may well play a role in heading off a technological doomsday. That's the upshot of a project that has NASA working with AWS Professional Services and the Amazon Machine Learning Solutions Lab to learn more about the early warning signs of a solar superstorm, with the aid of artificial intelligence. Solar storms occur when disturbances on the sun's surface throw off a blasts of radiation and eruptions of electrically charged particles at speeds of millions of miles per hour. A sufficiently strong radiation blast can impact radio communications over half of the globe. And if the eruptions, known as coronal mass ejection or CMEs, are strong enough and sweep directly past Earth, they can damage satellites and bring down power grids.