California-based Seal Software is to partner with Coin Sciences, the open source blockchain company, in what may be the first case of a legal AI document analysis system using blockchain technology.
The US company will now make use of Coin Sciences’ MultiChain private blockchain for peer-to-peer management of ‘Intelligent Contracts’ (see more below on the definition of this type of contract).
While blockchain technology has already started to be used in pilots for some specific matters in the legal sector such as bills of lading and trade finance, as well as in private equity fund documentation, this appears to be the first example of an AI document analysis system that makes use of a blockchain’s distributed ledger capability.
The question then is: Why do this and what advantage does a blockchain bring to contract analysis?
Seal said in a statement that: ‘With the addition of MultiChain to drive Seal’s Intelligent Contracts solution, Seal can automatically place contracts and their terms onto a sliding window, providing a virtual view of a contract’s state at any given point in time in a single view.’
‘By combining Seal’s machine learning framework with the MultiChain private blockchain, a distributed and trusted single view of a contract’s terms and conditions can be shared, negotiated and managed securely between all the parties involved in a multiparty contract.’
Or, to put it simply, what this does is allow a much more universal view of a contract where every change by any permissioned party is instantly visible to all, while a complete record of all changes remain embedded also for all to see. This produces a truly collaborative framework for contract discovery, analysis and contract negotiation that should be easier to use than some current methods.
Kevin Gidney, Seal’s CTO and Co-Founder said in the statement: ‘Bringing two advanced technologies together like this takes the use of AI-based contract analytics to a whole new level.’
Gideon Greenspan, CEO and Co-Founder of Coin Sciences added: ‘By integrating with MultiChain, Seal’s platform can be extended to orchestrate the multiparty negotiation and management of such contracts on a peer-to-peer basis. This collaboration validates our view that blockchains have uses far beyond cryptocurrencies and the finance sector.’
And, as to Seal’s view of ‘Intelligent Contracts’, in a public posting made last year Gidney set out the company’s vision of the technology.
Defining Intelligent Contracts by Kevin Gidney
‘There are multiple approaches to the creation of smart contracts……, including combining Narrow AI for the detection and extraction of information held within physical contracts, and once extracted, encoding this data onto a blockchain.
This approach is far more intelligent and extensible than smart contracts as they are currently defined, and as such, Seal calls these Intelligent Contracts.
The intelligence comes from the ‘I’ in AI, where a system is taught to continually and consistently recognise and extract key information from contracts, with active learning based on users’ responses, both positive and negative, to the extractions and predictions made.
This is very different than the current smart contracts, but it still uses some of the underlying methods of blockchain and the extension to store immutable information or actionable events within a block.
You may ask why Seal wouldn’t use Ethereum, the programmable and public block chain infrastructure launched in 2014, and leverage its concept of smart contracts. While it does provide some of the building blocks required, it has many limitations for our definition of Intelligent Contracts, including security, extensibility and performance.
To effectively create an Intelligent Contract, you must encode much more information on the blocks (extensibility), in a highly secure method, and the only real way to provide this currently is within a private blockchain solution.’
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