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Category Archives: Legal Research

An elite handful of analysts, actuaries, and accountants have mastered Excel

The Verge – “…arguably the most important software in the business world. So what do they do in Vegas? They open a spreadsheet…Competitive Excel has been around for years, but only in a hobbyist way. Most of the people in this room full of actuaries, analysts, accountants, and investors play Excel the way I play Scrabble or do the crossword — exercising your brain using tools you understand. But last year’s competition became a viral hit on ESPN and YouTube, and this year, the organizers are trying to capitalize. After all, someone points out to me, poker is basically just math, and it’s all over TV. Why not spreadsheets? Excel is a tool. It’s a game. Now it hopes to become a sport. I’ve come to realize in my two days in this ballroom that understanding a spreadsheet is like a superpower. The folks in this room make their living on their ability to take some complex thing — a company’s sales, a person’s lifestyle, a region’s political leanings, a race car — and pull it apart into its many component pieces. If you can reduce the world down to a bunch of rows and columns, you can control it. Manipulate it. Build it and rebuild it in a thousand new ways, with a couple of hotkeys and an undo button at the ready. A good spreadsheet shows you the universe and gives you the ability to create new ones. And the people in this room, in their dad jeans and short-sleeved button-downs, are the gods on Olympus, bending everything to their will..”

Top 10 Generative AI Models Mimic Russian Disinformation Claims A Third of the Time

Citing Moscow-Created Fake Local News Sites as Authoritative Sources – “NewsGuard audit finds that 32% of the time, leading AI chatbots spread Russian disinformation narratives created by John Mark Dougan, an American fugitive now operating from Moscow, citing his fake local news sites and fabricated claims on YouTube as reliable sources. Submitted (with companies named)… Continue Reading

Something’s Rotten About the Justices Taking So Long on Trump’s Immunity Case

The New York Times Opinion – Law Professor Leah Lipman [unpaywalled]: “…As of Tuesday, 110 days had passed since the court agreed to hear the Trump immunity case. And still no decision. This court has lost the benefit of the doubt for myriad reasons, including its willingness to act quickly in cases that benefit Republican… Continue Reading

Most downloaded US news app has Chinese roots and ‘writes fiction’ using AI

Reuters: “Last Christmas Eve, NewsBreak a free app with roots in China that is the most downloaded news app in the United States, published an alarming piece about a small town shooting. It was headlined “Christmas Day Tragedy Strikes Bridgeton, New Jersey Amid Rising Gun Violence in Small Towns.” The problem was, no such shooting… Continue Reading

Forbes threatens Perplexity with legal action

Axios: “Forbes sent a letter to the CEO of AI search startup Perplexity accusing the company of stealing text and images in a “willful infringement” of Forbes’ copyright rights, according to a copy of the letter obtained by Axios. Why it matters: Publishers fighting to protect their intellectual property are stuck in a game of… Continue Reading

Nine Takeaways From Our Investigation Into Microsoft’s Cybersecurity Failures

ProPublica: “After Russian hackers exploited a flaw in a widely used Microsoft product duringone of the largest cyberattacks in U.S. history, the software giant downplayed its culpability. However, a recent ProPublica investigation revealed that a whistleblower within Microsoft’s ranks had repeatedly attempted to convince the company to address the weakness years before the hack —… Continue Reading

What policy makers need to know about AI (and what goes wrong if they don’t)

Answer.AI: “Many policy makers in the US are being lobbied to introduce “AI safety” legislation by various well-funded groups. As a result, a number of pieces of legislation are now being drafted and voted on. For instance, SB 1047 is a bill currently working it’s way through the process in California, and introduces a number… Continue Reading

Banks and Nonbanks Are Not Separate, but Interwoven

Liberty Street Economics: “In our previous post, we documented the significant growth of nonbank financial institutions (NBFIs) over the past decade, but also argued for and showed evidence of NBFIs’ dependence on banks for funding and liquidity support. In this post, we explain that the observed growth of NBFIs reflects banks optimally changing their business… Continue Reading

AI in Finance is Like Moving From Typewriters To Word Processors

FT.com [unpaywalled]: “The accounting and finance professions have long adapted to technology — from calculators and spreadsheets to cloud computing. However, the emergence of generative AI presents both new challenges and opportunities for students looking to get ahead in the world of finance. From a report: Research last year by investment bank Evercore and Visionary… Continue Reading