Reflecting on 2023: The Year of AI

21 December 2023 | Eleanor Lightbody

2023 was a banner year for AI. We’ve witnessed unprecedented technological leaps, a drive to introduce new regulation, and profound social debates. And this proliferation was reflected here at Luminance, with ground-breaking product updates propelling a 172% increase in uptake of our AI. With 2024 rapidly approaching, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on a landmark year for the industry.

The Year That Put AI on the Map

AI is no longer a term reserved for sci-fi movies, but one which we see in the headlines every single day. Following the release of ChatGPT at the end of 2022, AI crept into many aspects of daily life – from writing cover letters and supplementing philosophical discussions, to generating advanced code and even advertising jingles. But the impact of AI wasn’t restricted to our personal lives. As businesses faced shrinking budgets, hiring freezes and burnout, professionals across industries turned to technology. Legal teams followed suit, with AI offering to maximise employee productivity and manage risk as businesses grappled with a perfect storm of a near-recession, the socio-economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic, and ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Times were tough, and legal AI became a key component for many. Just a few of my favourite customer anecdotes from this year include Emma Sleep doubling the quantity of documents reviewed per quarter, Hitachi taking NDAs from generation to signature in just five minutes, and Koch Industries empowering their non-legal teams to independently generate contracts. By automating much of this standardised work that lawyers regularly find themselves bogged down in, teams are maximising productivity, reallocating resource, and reducing outside counsel spend.

Luminance’s Key Milestones

With everyone talking about AI, it’s no surprise that 2023 has been a watershed year for us here at Luminance. Our Cambridge-based R&D hub has responded to the AI demand with an unprecedented rate of updates and key product developments, affirming our position at the forefront of innovation. In the past year alone, we have released the world’s first ‘legal-grade’ chatbot, completely automated the negotiation of a contract between two parties in a world’s first with Luminance Autopilot, and launched Luminance Self-Serve. Luminance’s many features in the news (check out some of the highlights from the BBC and Sky News!) just goes to show that the world is noticing how AI is taking society to the next level. The proof is in the pudding, and this is what businesses discover when they try us out for themselves…

What We’ve Learned…

So, what are my key takeaways from 2023? Firstly, that business leaders across all sectors are embracing AI. This year alone we’ve welcomed customers big and small, from Rightmove and Bilfinger to Akzo Nobel and Hopper. Secondly, we’ve learned that as public interest grows, so does awareness – people are realising the need for specialist AI in specialist industries following some infamous ChatGPT hallucinations and dire consequences! From a lawyer in New York being fined for citing fake cases generated by ChatGPT to a chatbot falsely accusing a US law professor of sexually harassing students, it’s clear that more specialised technology is needed in a specialist industry like law. That’s why we’ve spent years building Luminance’s technology to be ‘legal-grade’, making sure it’s perfectly adapted to being applied in the legal environment where accuracy is key.

What’s Next?

Looking ahead, I don’t see the AI buzz dying down anytime soon. Indeed, as we head into 2024, AI is no longer an unknown frontier for the legal industry. With this increased trust in tried-and-tested systems, I think that next year will see lawyers start to place routine contract negotiations into the hands of AI, enabling them to take productivity and efficiency to new heights. Rest assured, this won’t be the year that AI replaces lawyers, but those legal teams that aren’t using it may quickly find themselves left behind.