Watson’s triumph may be overplayed, but the PR coup points to a movement in which lawyers ally much more with software to become better decision-makers. So-called augmented cognition software has great allure in the law.
Integrated wetware and software can be generic (See my post of Sept. 4, 2005: computers can assist decision-makers; April 7, 2006: analytical software to assist experts; Aug. 14, 2006: statistical and linguistic algorithms to pick out key concepts in text; Oct. 21, 2009: collective of departments and shared decision software; Sept. 29, 2006: augmented-cognition software; Feb. 22, 2009: software to depict and quantify decisions; and Feb. 10, 2010: in future, software to help in-house counsel make decisions.).
Or the software can be domain specific (See my post of Dec. 8, 2009: global mapping of trademarks; June 11, 2008 #5: export compliance software at GM; and April 20, 2008: linguistic modeling software for invoice review.).
It’s hard to draw a bright line as to whether classes of software should or should not be included as decision augmenting. Software that bolsters decision-making might include spreadsheets. They can chart data and otherwise help users exercise better judgment. All databases, for that matter, potentially help decision makers to the degree they collect, organize, and report data. So too a broad category might include document assembly. By a sufficiently loose definition of software that helps with decisions, so might project management packages and decision-tree software.