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Daily Archives: January 15, 2019

Meet ATJ Bot – The World’s First Legal Aid Voice Assistant

Artificial Lawyer: “LawDroid, the legal bot developer, has now launched ATJ Bot, a voice operated legal aid assistant that initially will focus on giving help on uncontested divorces. The project has been backed by America’s main legal aid body, the Legal Services Corporation, plus West Tennessee Legal Services and the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services, with the system operating in that State. Development began in early 2018. ATJ Bot can be used either with voice or use typed in text via a web portal. The voice system is based on the Google Duplex system and allows a user to speak and receive answers, as well as to be guided through the process of filling in the legal forms necessary to file an uncontested divorce. Other legal tech businesses have used voice before – and LawDroid and its founder, Tom Martin, have developed several such bots in the past. But, this appears to be the first one to be officially backed by a legal aid organisation. Once a ‘client’ has completed their forms, with the help of the bot – which speaks in a man’s voice – it’s up to the divorcing parties to print out the documents and take them to a court in person to file them…”

Paper – Correcting Biases

Sunstein, Cass R., Algorithms, Correcting Biases (December 12, 2018). Forthcoming, Social Research. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3300171 “A great deal of theoretical work explores the possibility that algorithms may be biased in one or another respect. But for purposes of law and policy, some of the most important empirical research finds exactly the opposite. In the… Continue Reading

These 10 States Grow the Nation’s Organic Food

24/7 Wall St: “…The USDA reported in 2011 that 9,140 farms, comprising 3.65 million acres of U.S. farmland, were managed as certified organic, with about 55% (2.03 million acres) as cropland and the rest for pasture and ranchland. By 2016, certified organic acreage on 14,217 organic farms had increased to 5.02 million acres, of which… Continue Reading

Commentary – How to stop fake news? Take responsibility

The Next Web: The only way to stop fake news is for you to take responsibility: “Trump has made a lot of things buzzworthy, but perhaps none more than “fake news.” Everyone has strong opinions about who is at fault for spreading lies in the press. It’s “the media’s” fault. It’s Trump’s fault. Before Trump,… Continue Reading

All the President’s Memes

The New York Times: “On the 12th day of the federal government shutdown, the 45th president of the United States of America posted a meme on his Instagram account: an image of his half-glowering, half-smirking visage, hovering gigantically above the Southwestern desert, dwarfing the picture’s centerpiece — a rendering of his signature campaign promise —… Continue Reading

Study – U.S. Health Care Spending Highest Among Developed Countries

Johns Hopkins: “The United States, on a per capita basis, spends much more on health care than other developed countries; the chief reason is not greater health care utilization, but higher prices, according to a study from a team led by a Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researcher. The paper appears in the January… Continue Reading

Paper – Psychopathy by U.S. State

Murphy, Ryan, Psychopathy by U.S. State (May 26, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3185182 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3185182 “Rentfrow et al. (2013) constructs a cross-section of the “Big Five” personality traits and demonstrates their relationship with outcomes variables for the continental United States and the District of Columbia. Hyatt et al. (Forthcoming) creates a means of describing psychopathy… Continue Reading

Why the US Government Is Terrified of Hobbyist Drones

Wired: “If you want to understand why the government freaked out when a $400 remote-controlled quadcopter landed on the White House grounds last week, you need to look four miles away, to a small briefing room in Arlington, Virginia. There, just 10 days earlier, officials from the US military, the Department of Homeland Security, and… Continue Reading

Massive Pentagon Agency Can’t Complete Audit – Again

POGO: “For the second year in a row, a little-known but massive Pentagon agency won’t be able to complete an independent audit. The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) handles more taxpayer dollars in a year than several Cabinet-level departments, but auditors have informed agency leadership that they will not be able to complete their audit for fiscal… Continue Reading

House of Representatives Adopts Whistleblower and Ethics Reforms for Itself

POGO: “The House of Representatives has new rules for itself that will foster stronger accountability and ethics, and protect whistleblowers.  At the beginning of each legislative session, Congress adopts rules that cover everything from voting procedures to the names of committees to who is admitted into the halls of Congress to dress codes for Members.… Continue Reading

EPA criminal action against polluters hits 30-year low

AP: “The Environmental Protection Agency hit a 30-year low in 2018 in the number of pollution cases it referred for criminal prosecution, Justice Department data show. EPA said in a statement that it is directing “its resources to the most significant and impactful cases.” But the 166 cases referred for prosecution in the last fiscal… Continue Reading

A Year of (Literal and Figurative) Ups and Downs for Our Waterways

Casey Trees: “Every other year, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation releases a State of the Bay. Similar to our annual efforts with the Tree Report Card, this report is a comprehensive measure of the Bay’s health based on 13 indicators in three categories: pollution, habitat, and fisheries. The report finds the bay “dangerously out of balance,”… Continue Reading