3 Legal Tech Trends for 2020

22 January 2020

It’s 2020 – is it the future yet?

We’re continuing to see corporate tech practices maintain steady growth, but the scope of their work is changing. So, what might 2020 have in store for the legal profession and what are the areas we should look out for?

(1) Cybersecurity & AI

If the last decade is anything to base predictions on, this decade should see continued growth in the Cybersecurity and AI field. We’ve seen a major rise in online security threats, from the 2013 Yahoo security breach, which exposed data from over 3 billion accounts, the last decade is home to 7 of the 10 largest security breaches in history. In fact, Cybersecurity Ventures (a leading cybersecurity research group and publisher of Cybersecurity Magazine) predicts cybercrime damages of $6 trillion annually by 2021. That’s more damage than inflicted from natural disasters per year, and more profitable than the global illegal drug trade in totality.

With so much new code written every day, the opportunities for cybercriminals to target vulnerabilities as they appear is a continuing threat. As a result, the practicality of human detection and intervention in these matters is reducing, and the need for a real-time detection and intervention solution is imminent. This is pushing the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to help close the gap. We’re likely to see a more widespread adoption of AI in the detection and prevention of cybersecurity threats, and legislative reform to enable more effective data security management.

(2) Data Privacy

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) enacted in the EU in 2016 and effective in 2018, may foreshadow the global advancement of a consumer-centric approach to personal data privacy. The GDPR has been instrumental in resetting the approach to privacy in the U.S.  Just last month, California enacted the California Consumer Privacy Act, following many of the core tenants of the GDPR, and representing a fundamental shift in the way personal data may be handled. Although this is state law, we are likely to see adoption across several US states and potentially across the western world.

(3) AI & IP Creation/Ownership

Although an area that has historically been more of a theoretical classroom discussion, the practicality of IP creation and ownership in AI is quickly becoming a real issue. The growth of AI is creating some novel issues in the IP world, most notably the issue of self-created works of AI. If AI creates an original work, who is the author? If the work is patentable, who benefits from the patent? These are novel areas that will have to be resolved by IP litigators and the courts this decade, as the ability of AI to create novel concepts or designs will only increase.

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