The Windy City had an electric vibe due to the nearly 1,800 attendees at Relativity Fest’s 2023 Conference1. There were numerous sessions on technology that is advancing the eDiscovery industry. There was also a great session on Access to Justice, an eye-opening Judicial panel, breakout sessions, fireside chats, and so many more sessions that stirred ample conversation among attendees.
Generative AI was at the top of many discussions. What once took hours has been accelerated with online review tools to minutes, and now within seconds key information can be generated. A real excitement was the uptick in attendance by Government professionals. Fest traditionally has been a hot spot for the private sector; however, attendees from public service have taken notice and are increasingly interested in attending conferences where they can learn ways for their teams to take hold of efficiency and accuracy.
There has been a lot of movement in the Government in advancing technology so operations and services can be delivered more efficiently and accurately. A few include:
- The White House’s Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights2,
- Several hearings on the hill in both the House and Senate, including the forthcoming Bipartisan Framework for US AI Act3,
- The White House Office of Management and Budget’s4 memo regarding transformative digital policy guidance through the Delivering a Digital-First Public Experience5.
These are just a few of the many ways we are seeing Government prepare for the exciting times ahead so the Nation can harness the power of AI, respect privacy, and harden against cyberattacks in the digital world.
Government attendees are public servants, which requires them to be technology agnostic so that preferences will not blur the lines of utilizing what is the best products and services for carrying out the Nation’s business. Below are some thoughts shared by various professionals from the Federal family without identifying their names or agencies to allow for frank and informed discussions on their thoughts on dealing with the explosion of data, preparing their agency for the future in the rapidly advancing technology landscape, and what key takeaways they had from attending this conference.
It was great to see an uptick in Government attendees at this year’s Fest. For several attendees this was their first Relativity Fest. Other Government participants are regular attendees. and a packed agenda had numerous presentations on various topics, including these topics, which were particularly popular: AI, utilization of the cloud, cybersecurity, legal issues, and privacy concerns.
Government professionals noted how exciting it was to hear about how many years this conference has been taking place. The conference enables individuals to not only network but also learn from distinguished speakers and from one another on improving process to find solutions. This synergy provided for great discussion on navigating evolving regulatory frameworks, business needs, and ever advancing technology.
Issues such as the enormous growth of data, concerns for privacy, understanding existing uses of AI today, as well as preparing for generative AI in the future (including ethics considerations associated with how it’s implemented and used) were brought to the fore to help motivate eDiscovery professionals who seek to find answers, especially in a rapidly evolving landscape where there are many unknowns.
One member of the Federal family provided a reminder that “at times, all these advancements sound promising but the technology doesn’t always work as promised.” While overcoming technological limitations in operations can be difficult, there was still quite a bit of excitement and energy at the conference from both Government and private side attendees. Another Government attendee highlighted that “there are many challenges that are shared across the lines of business, so it’s great to attend conferences where we can come together and discuss innovative approaches to these common challenges.”
One Government attendee noted one of the most interesting things at the conference was “[s]eeing how Relativity is planning to leverage AI.” Utilization of AI, including generative AI, is very popular across the globe – implementation of it in eDiscovery will be very exciting. This attendee also noted that “[a]s we’re using [the RelativityOne Government platform], we’re waiting for a lot of the new features to get pushed to us, but Review Center looks very promising, and I can’t wait to look at how we can leverage it at our agency.” Exciting times for sure as it will be interesting to see how AI can help improve accuracy and efficiency.
A Government attendee who had attended Fest before pointed out the importance of technological advancements can also include having “roadmap knowledge [which] is great to see what’s coming to help prepare in house teams and workflows.” Another point made was the importance of “processing and especially the ability to support JSON [files] and integrated conversion to [Relativity Short Message Format] is a game changer.” Another issue is the ability to analyze communication tone among individuals, as pointed out, “[i]improvement to sentiment analysis is also something that shines on end user standpoint.”
The large crowd and individuals from diverse backgrounds with various levels of expertise allowed for rich conversations and robust debate in a community that seeks to find solutions in the rapidly evolving data world. While there was a larger private side attendee population from law firms, corporations, and organizations, it was exciting to see the trailblazers from the Federal family being actively involved in discussions throughout the week. Conferences like Relativity Fest aim to move the technology needle allowing for free-flowing discussions where challenges are identified, pros and cons are measured, ethical implications are debated, all to push for meaningful solutions that can address today’s challenges. The constant distilling of technological progress helps in the improved delivery of services to citizens and operations for the Nation.
Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by my employer, my partners or my clients. eDiscovery Today is made available solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Today should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.
- https://relativityfest.com/ ↩︎
- https://www.whitehouse.gov/ostp/ai-bill-of-rights/ ↩︎
- https://www.blumenthal.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/09072023bipartisanaiframework.pdf ↩︎
- https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/M-23-22-Delivering-a-Digital-First-Public-Experience.pdf ↩︎
- https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/briefing-room/2023/09/22/why-the-american-people-deserve-a-digital-government/ ↩︎