May 20, 2016

Friday Finds: Blockchain Technology, the First Robotic Attorney and the $107 Billion eLearning Industry

May 20, 2016

Friday Finds: Blockchain Technology, the First Robotic Attorney and the $107 Billion eLearning Industry

Technology, eLearning, ROSS, robot, Marketing Strategy

1. Blockchain Technology: The Gift That Keeps Giving

Blockchain technology (a method of storing data in ‘blocks’ of transactions) can replace contracts and give you autonomy over your data. The rise of the Bitcoin has brought Blockchain technology into the mainstream. Not only have large financial corporations like J.P Morgan begun trialling the technology, the music industry, the legal industry and the social media world have embraced the technology with open arms.

Mycelia – a startup founded by Imogen Heap uses blockchain technology to integrate ‘smart contracts’ enabling musicians to sell directly to consumers without an intermediary. Ascribe allows artists to sell their work with digital watermarks where the transfer of the art piece is similar to the way Bitcoins are transferred to another person’s ‘wallet’. Enigma, addresses the problem of data privacy. Developed by MIT, it allows people to own and control their own data without allowing the social network they’re using to access or use their data. 

2. Law Practice Hires a Robot
Baker & Hostetler has hired IBM’s artificially intelligent robot Ross, and they are not the only one. You can ask Ross a legal question in plain English and he will read through the entire body of law, giving you a cited answer from legislation, case law and secondary sources.

Ross will decrease the time spent on research by narrowing answers down to the most relevant. He remains up to speed on the latest legislative changes by tracking developments relating to a specific case. In just seconds, Ross can gather the amount of case law that a young lawyer would gather in 15 hours. According to the founder and CEO, Andrew Arruda, other legal firms have also signed licenses with Ross and announcements are to follow shortly.


3. eLearning: The $107 billion industry
Technology is disrupting education. The rise of eLearning platforms like Udemy, Coursera and Khan Academy is driving the $107 billion industry. eLearning bridges the gap that traditional education leaves – flexibility, affordability and control.

It places pressure on Universities to innovate as certifications and degrees can now be obtained online for a fraction of the price of a University degree. The drive for modularity in content and video-based learning has pushed the likes of MIT, Stanford and Harvard to offer qualifications online to remain competitive. Students can now select niche skills they want to acquire without having to opt into an entire degree – and all in the comfort of their own home.

Written by Lina Lau, Special Projects at Step Change



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