Computer Game as Legal Educator and Lawsuit Outcome Predictor
E-discovery and e-investigations involve ever-growing quantities of legal records . . . oceans of records. To sift and understand these oceans, we need new tools.
Two such tools are crowdsourcing and sentiment analysis.
Crowdsourcing can employ an army of virtual workers to analyze massive numbers of records like emails. CrowdFlower will demonstrate this application of crowdsourcing at the SANS Institute’s E-Records Summit in September.
Sentiment analysis uses linguistic software to glean the intent or attitude of people expressed in large numbers of records, such as text messages or Twitter tweets.
Tools like crowdsourcing and sentiment analysis are little known in legal circles. How can courts, lawyers and investigators gain experience? How can they evaluate these new tools and learn their uses?
I suggest those tools (and others) be incorporated into computer games. In the Information Age, games and simulations are assuming a larger role in education, training and dispute resolution. For example, managers at healthcare providers learn how to cope with adversity, such as employee termination, through computer-aided simulation.
And diplomats use simulated negotiations to envision how to resolve international disputes. See Simulated talks show possible solution for Arctic dispute
Lawyers, law students and even courtroom judges can play computer games for the serious purpose of evaluating evidence, testing arguments and ascertaining what the outcome of litigation should be. Computer games can be quicker, more insightful and less expensive than the traditional form of litigation simulation, i.e., mock trial.
I can imagine lawyer computer games including tools like crowdsourcing and sentiment analysis.
Imagine that a law firm is defending an age discrimination lawsuit involving 3 million electronic mail records at a corporation. To assess those records and develop strategy, the law firm could play games with them. It could feed the records into a computer game that uses crowdsourcing, sentiment analysis and the like to test and search the records under different standards and scenarios. The firm might, for example, learn that sentiment analysis reveals an overall executive desire to comply with employment laws, even though a few “stray remarks” use impolitic language to discuss older workers. Alternatively, the firm might discover that a thorough review of the emails, by hundreds of reviewers, reveals a management culture at the corporation that is insensitive to rights of older employees. (See Efrati and Koppel, “Google is set back in age-bias case in ruling with broad implications,” Wall Street Journal, August 6, 2010.)
Either way, the law firm is better able to advise and represent its corporate client.
The law industry is slow to recognize new methods. As inventors like CrowdFlower develop innovations for the industry, computer games can publicize those innovations and teach lawyers and investigators to think differently.
Mr. Wright teaches IT law at the SANS Institute.