uToronto team uses Watson technology to create AI-based legal research assistant

December 15, 2014

Researchers at the University of Toronto are developing a new computer-based legal research assistant. Ross, as it is called, was developed by a team of students who were allowed to work with IBM’s Watson supercomputer, perhaps most famous for its victory against 2 champions on television quiz show Jeopardy! uToronto is one of 10 universities—and reportedly the only one outside the US—that were given remote, cloud-based access to the Watson technology. The team fed the system a massive amount of Ontario corporate law decisions and statues, and can now ask questions and receive a response, complete with citations of pertinent legal cases, relevant readings, and a percentage indicating the computer’s confidence in its answer. Ross can also notify legal researchers when a new relevant case is entered into its database. “When we are short of time, we just say it is Siri for lawyers,” said Ross computer engineer Jimoh Ovbiagele. The IBM program that helped the Ross team launch its tool is set to expand to 100 universities in 2015. Globe and Mail