[blindlaw] Article: Amazon's Alexa can now track billable hours, ABA Journal, May 10, 2017

Nightingale, Noel Noel.Nightingale at ed.gov
Fri May 12 19:13:49 UTC 2017


Amazon's Alexa can now track billable hours

ABA Journal

May 10, 2017

By Victor Li

Corrected: As noted in its near-ubiquitous ad campaign, Amazon's artificially intelligent virtual assistant, Alexa, can interact with users, give them important information like weather and traffic patterns, keep track of important events and play music.

Alexa can even keep track of an attorney's billable hours.

According to a post on Tuesday by Robert Ambrogi, Thomson Reuters has unveiled a new tool for lawyers to do just that-all with just a simple vocal command to Alexa. Developed by Thomson Reuters Elite, Workspace Assistant can calculate time spent on specific matters while allowing users to input their own hours. Workspace Assistant, which is compatible with any Alexa-enabled device, including Amazon Echo, also can answer questions relating to billable hours.

As Ambrogi noted, Workspace Assistant only works for users who subscribe to Workspace, Thomson Reuters Elite's business management tool.

A tool like this is sure to engender security and confidentiality concerns. As Ambrogi pointed out, prosecutors have already started issuing subpoenas for Alexa or Echo recordings. Eric Ruud, managing director of Thomson Reuters Legal Enterprise Solutions, said in a press release that Workspace Assistant is "hosted by Elite, so it's just a low touch into the Amazon environment." He added that: "Alexa listens and interacts with time entry and reporting, but always within the firm's security walls."

Workspace Assistant can be downloaded from the Amazon Alexa store.

Updated at 10:09 p.m. to correctly name the Workspace Assistant product.

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