Virtual reality may not immediately strike lawyers as useful to their practice, but a deeper look at this versatile tech reveals a multitude of possibilities for the profession. New VR uses are cropping up all over the legal world, from law students training to litigation applications for more powerful storytelling to simple programs that prep clients for the courtroom. Dennis and Tom talk about their personal experiences with VR tech and discuss its tremendous potential for helping lawyers improve their legal practice.
In their second segment, they give an update on the current state of deepfakes and what is being done to aid in deepfake detection.
As always, stay tuned for the parting shots, that one tip, website, or observation you can use the second the podcast ends.
Have a technology question for Dennis and Tom? Call their Tech Question Hotline at 720-441-6820 for answers to your most burning tech questions.
Special thanks to our sponsors, ServeNow and Colonial Surety Company.
Your Opinion Matters
Help us make your favorite shows better by completing the 2022 Listener Survey.
Mentioned in This Episode
A Segment: Dennis and Tom talk about Virtual Reality
B Segment: Update on Deepfakes
The Kennedy-Mighell Report
All-In on Virtual Reality VR Tech & Its Many Potential Applications in the Legal Field
November 6, 2020
Intro: Got the world turning as fast as it can? Hear how technology can help, legally speaking with two of the top legal technology experts, authors and lawyers; Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell. Welcome to the Kennedy-Mighell Report here on the Legal Talk Network.
Dennis Kennedy: Welcome to Episode 273 of the Kennedy-Mighell Report. I’m Dennis Kennedy in Ann Arbor.
Tom Mighell: And I’m Tom Mighell in Dallas. Before we get started, we’d like to thank our sponsors.
Dennis Kennedy: And first of all, we’d like to thank Colonial Surety Company Bonds and Insurance for bringing you this podcast. Whatever core bond you need, get a quote and purchase online at colonialsurety.com/podcast.
Tom Mighell: We’d also like to thank ServeNow, a nationwide network of trusted pre-screened process servers. Work with the most professional process servers who have experience with high-volume serves, embrace technology and understand the litigation process. Visit servenow.com to learn more.
Dennis Kennedy: And we want to mention that the second edition of our book The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies is available on Amazon. Everyone agrees that collaboration is essential in today’s world but now more than ever before knowing the right tools will make all the difference. As I like to say at the start of all our recent podcasts, what a difference another week or two makes and the big changes just keep rolling along. And as we record on election night because we couldn’t stop ourselves from doing that, we really don’t even know what to expect next.
In our last episode, we had a fantastic interview guest Karuana Gatimu who is the Principal PM Manager of the Customer Advocacy Group for Microsoft Teams. So, if any of you wanting to know more about teams, well, you have to give that episode a listen. In this episode, we go all in on virtual reality and tell you about our early experiences with our new Oculus Quest 2.
We go the extra mile for you, our listeners, Tom what’s on our agenda for this episode?
Tom Mighell: Indeed, we do Dennis. In this edition of the Kennedy-Mighell Report, we will be going all-in on the subject of virtual reality and in particular compare notes on our recent joint purchase of the Oculus Quest 2. In our second segment, we’re going to revisit an old topic of ours or at least kind of old, deep fakes that’s getting a lot more attention these days. And as usual, we’ll finish up with our parting shots at one tip(ph) website or observation you can start to use the second that this podcast is over.
But first up, virtual reality and the Oculus Quest 2. We have talked about virtual reality and its cousin, augmented reality from time to time on the podcast and I seem to remember proclaiming on an episode way back that augmented reality was going to provide more value to lawyers in the long-run. Then over the past couple of weeks, both of us bought the newest Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality headset and suddenly, I am not so confident in my earlier proclamation. So, we thought we’d share our initial impressions on the Oculus Quest 2 and virtual reality in general for lawyers. Dennis, are you thumbs up or thumbs down on VR and the Oculus Quest 2?
Dennis Kennedy: I am at an OMG on this. I’m totally thumbs up and when I first tried the Oculus Quest and I was just looking around at things to do, I found this National Geographic — this is called like a skindiving experience. As I was watching it, there was a guy who was skindiving and there are all these fish and things around me and then he pointed behind me and there was a sign that said “Look behind you” and I turned to look back and this giant hammerhead shark swam over the top of my head and I was totally sold on VR. Just a big thumbs up, Tom how about you?
Tom Mighell: Well you know it’s funny because I am comparing this to my earlier experiences with VR. Those of you who remember way back and way back being probably three or four or five years ago. My first experience was with something you may have heard called Google Cardboard which was literally cardboard and it was a “Make your own VR glasses” that were made of cardboard with these glass lenses inside and you would put them to unfold the cardboard to create your lenses and put it together yourself. Put the lenses in there, then put your phone in. Slide the phone in and use that as your headset and then that gave way to the Google Daydream which also still used your phone but it was more like a set of real goggles. You strap your phone in this time, it wasn’t made out of cardboard, it was made out of better materials.
So, what was interesting when I put on the Oculus for the first time, it was kind of like I had jumped light years ahead of what I had experienced in the past. I mean, it was nothing like those early experiences and what’s amazing to me is how fast this — that we’ve gotten to this point. This isn’t the first what I would call “high-end virtual reality headset,” Oculus has put out several more before this but they were huge. They were big and they relied on plugging into your computer. What I like about this is, it’s getting — it’s still big, it’s still heavy on the head, it’s still not easy to wear but it’s getting smaller, it’s getting more compact, it’s a lot higher quality than it was before.
I’m not having to put my phone in there, it’s all self-contained, it’s a computer and I’ve got to tell you, the quality was so much better. It was so realistic and I think “immersive” is probably the best word that I could use. You really put those on and you feel like you’re immersed in whatever world you happen to be in.
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah and I think it is interesting to look back. I mean, it used to be like these big kind of booth things you could go in at malls with these — sort of like polygon type of virtual reality. And then things went through the years. You just reminded me Tom for some reason of — remember, I don’t know how many years ago because my daughter was little at the time. But we were at Disney World and they had like this space trip to Mars, quasi virtual reality experience.
You will remember it because you and Fred Faulkner(ph) got really woozy.
Tom Mighell: Violent ill. Yes, thank you.
Dennis Kennedy: And so, there is a kind of — that’s what I noticed about the Oculus is that it is immersive and then also, the experience doesn’t feel like there’s that big of a gap between what’s happening in the goggles and in the real-life experience. So, you have really strong sensations that we’ll talk about but I think that it doesn’t feel as artificial. It just feels — yeah, I think you’re right Tom, that “immersive” is just a really great word for it. So, I guess Tom, we should probably talk all about the Oculus but maybe we should like step back and look at the big picture of VR. And maybe, where we see the potential right now and then maybe localize that to law. So, do you want to take a stab with that?
Tom Mighell: I think clearly, the consumer potential for VR is around entertainment. And so that’s gaming, that’s movies that’s visiting museums and things like that. It’s being able to escape while putting that on and getting away to another place and having a recreational activity whether you’re playing a game or you’re visiting someplace you haven’t been able to visit before. That’s where I see the true consumer value of virtual reality being. But if we talk about business, if we talk about others, I see things like — training is a huge issue. I’ve seen cases where they’re putting VR headsets on doctors to help them perform medical procedures, they’re putting them on soldiers to help out in the field and help them adjust to difficult situations and see things.
It’s also being used on those same soldiers who may come back who’ve had post-traumatic stress disorder, where it helps them kind of relive the situation in a way that they can gain control over and address their trauma in a way that’s therapeutic to them. I see sports training being able to actually participate in sports without totally hurting yourself or putting yourself out there to do things. I’ve seen where engineers are using virtual reality to do engineering design where you can look around all parts of a structure, or of an automobile, or whatever. I’ve seen them talk about things that they can see the design issues happening better than if you are looking at a CAD drawing or some other computer-generated drawing or recreation of whatever it is they’re looking at.
So, I think that frankly, I think sky’s the limit and you can have lots of things that you would normally have to spend a lot of money trying to recreate it in real life, you can now recreate it in virtual reality for less money and realize the same or similar benefit.
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah. It’s I think there is this notion and I’ll talk more about it I think when we go to the potential impact on the legal profession of what I would call “rehearsal.” So that you can say “Oh I’m looking at –” I looked at this thing, mountain climbing today and I could see like “Oh, if I could kind of take a walk through that’s very realistic before I do something, that can help me by rehearsing it.
So almost better than visualization, I think there’s definitely this — a lot of effort going on in entertainment, in sports these days. So how do we improve the sports watching experience? So how can — if I’m watching it at home, how can I experience it, better reflects what it would be live and in-person at an event.
Same thing in entertainment, so if I could go to a concert and get a near realistic performance from essentially, the virtual seat that I wanted from that has a lot of value, potentially. I could shift seats, shift views during an event and then I think in training of almost every type. I mean I could see just learning how to use this device of how to pick things up and how to hit essentially a ping-pong ball and fly a drone and other things like that. I can see some really interesting ways to do training that may have a lot more application in what we call the COVID times, so the work from home days, as we kind of take different approaches(ph) to workplaces and how we do things.
But let’s localize it a bit to law, Tom and I’ll ask you first because I sort of see most of the applications in the word of litigation which is kind of the area that you came from. Is that your sense where we’ll see the early developments?
Tom Mighell: Well, I think it’s one area for them. I think it’s one that makes a lot of sense because one of the purposes of litigation and let’s not even talk about civil litigation. We can talk about criminal cases too — is to tell a story, is that you’re having to recreate something that happened in the past, that’s leading everyone to be here today in this courtroom. And you know, whether that was a crime that was committed or whether that was an automobile accident or a building — construction building failure and the building fell down.
Being able to put the jury in the position of what it was like when that happened, is incredibly powerful alternative to just having — even it was a couple of years ago and we were saying “Oh, wow and now they’re doing computer-generated simulations of what that building looked like” or “Here’s our computer generated a car crashing into the other car.” Yeah, that was cool for the time but this is like being there and being able to see it. I think those things are — to me, where huge value is. But I think that there are other things and I know you’re going to want to talk. I’m probably going to not step on your toes here.
You’re probably going to talk about law school and good experiences with that. But I have seen and read lots of articles about using more and more virtual reality in law schools and helping law students out with things. That to me is another big area but I also see big use for this in terms of training and preparation of not only lawyers but also clients. So, having I — know that the San Francisco Bar has a virtual reality program to train lawyers for their pro bono program and you put on virtual reality headset and you have somebody lead you around the court courthouse to tell you how to do pro bono work.
I was listening to a podcast last week where an attorney was talking about how he has set up a virtual reality tool that allows him to show his clients what the inside of a courtroom looks like. So that when they go in there, they’re familiar with it, it’s not new, they’re not starstruck. They know what to expect, they know where to go sit. None of it is surprising to them and that helps with their nerves, it helps them feel more accustomed to it. I think that’s a great idea but I think that the main thing around virtual reality that makes it powerful for lawyers is it’s going to help them tell better stories.
And that’s part of what a lawyer does mostly in litigation but I would not limit it to litigation. I mean I think there’s a lot of other places where this might be valuable for lawyers to tell the story that they need to tell for their client.
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah. So, somebody told me of an example in the UK where they took — all the information they had about a car accident where there was one witness who happened to see it outside looking through their window of their house. And they were able to get all the data about whether the car speeds — sort of the car black box data as I understand it.
And then they could get the view of the witness and then recreate that in virtual reality, so you could see basically what had to have happened based on the data you had and the witness testimony. Which seemed like a really cool use and I believe in my recollection what they told me was the case settled once they were able to put that together because it was clear what had to have happened. So that’s interesting and then as you said there, there’s a couple things where you go like “Oh, I imagine as like a young lawyer, as a brand-new lawyer and the first time I went over to the courthouse and I just try to find my way around. If you could just like get a virtual reality tour before you went over there, you would be a lot more confident.”
And this is when I talk to people about education and I talked about rehearsal, practice, training, those sorts of things. What they find is that your practice is qualitatively better and that people get more comfortable, more confident and do better more quickly. So, think about this, say that you actually were arguing a case before the Supreme Court.
If you could — in virtual reality just put on the goggles and be in the actual courtroom and maybe even have the Supreme Court Justices in 3D forms sitting there as you practice. I just think it would make you way more confident and comfortable in there. So, it’s almost like we’re kind of just opening the door just a little bit to the to the potential. So, I see in the script Tom, what I have next is what excites Dennis and what excites Tom and I sort of feel like what excites Dennis is like almost everything because just in a couple of weeks of playing with this and then I was thinking about it before I got the oculus. But I just think there’s a ton of potential in some really interesting ways that I can’t wait to dig in on.
Tom Mighell: I think so too and what excites me, there’s really two things about it that have me — well, aside from just the potential of everything that it does is exciting. To me, the two things that are particularly exciting is one, how much smaller and mobile it is than past versions? And I can only imagine, I’m waiting for the day when I can put on just a pair of glasses and that’s my VR headset and it’s all built into the glasses. Now, I think we’re a long way away from that, but mean compared to what these were two or three years ago they’re already smaller.
I’m also very interested to see what a 5G headset might look like. That when we get to kind of mobile, super high speeds whether that would allow us to go out and do things and make it really fast and be able to download data the right way. So, I’m excited on the one about the potential that it has now but I’m really excited about the potential for the future because if they’ve made this much progress in a year or two, just imagine what it’s going to look like in a further year or two or three from now.
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah. So, let’s talk about the Oculus Quest 2 which just came out. And maybe compare some notes on our experience. I thought that this setup was not as — maybe Apple-like as I might hope. So, it took a little while and there were some adjustments and some downloading and figuring out the controls and things. So, it took a little while to set it up but once I got it put together and charged up, one issue that I don’t whether you’ll dig om deeper but there has been some reservation because to use the Oculus, you have to have a Facebook account and use it. There are some concerns about privacy on that for a good reason.
So, people will need to think about that and that may — frankly, I could see it limiting some of the uses that people would do if it were that totally private zone. So, there is some setup and some other things and some of that is cool. There’s this kind of this AR, augmented reality experience when you set it up because you define a safe zone, the standing zone and a sitting zone in your room, so you don’t walk into things or hit things — you kind of like touch the ground so it knows where the floor is and then you kind of draw a circle on the floor and you’re looking through the glasses to see your and that’s kind of cool.
But once you have that set up, and figure out how to use the controllers, it’s pretty straightforward newer experience and there’s like a nice training application that they point you to help you learn some few skills. Was that basically your experience too?
Tom Mighell: Yeah. My setup, I thought it was actually I don’t compare everything to Apple like you do. But I thought it was pretty simple and pretty straightforward to set things up. I am and I’m probably going to get killed by all of our friends who are into privacy. But I don’t mind that I’m connected to a Facebook account because I’m using this for entertainment purposes. And they know that I’m watching Netflix and they know that I’m playing a shoot em’ up zombie game. And they know that I’m getting on a roller coaster on VR. None of that really concerns me too much, so I’m not — for what I’m using this for now, for using it, the privacy implications don’t really concern me too much. I will say that once it all got set up, that introduction showing you how to do things how to grab things, how to — it has you put a rocket in one hand and pull a string and the rocket just rockets out of your hand and goes up and explodes in the air. And then it’s — got a punching bag to the side. And if you punch it and it goes out and it comes towards you and you literally want to get out of the way because it’s coming straight towards your face and you think that it’s going to hit you.
I mean it’s so realistic, even though it is clearly an animated ball, but it is just frankly, that won me over, the whole introductory course got me so totally excited about the possibility and all the cool stuff that it could do. I thought if the intro is this cool, just imagine what all the games are going to be like. And I would say for the most part, that was right. I think that some games and some apps that I’ve downloaded so far have been better than others. But I think my experience so far has been pretty good.
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah. What I noticed and was kind of interesting in the training was when I was throwing things and learning how to hit things; there’s like a ping-pong ball thing. It is that I’m left-handed but there is a lot of sports skills that I was thought to do and do right-handed. But I was in that training, I was kind of throwing equally well with both my left hand and my right hand. It was kind of a kind phenomenon and there is this realistic feel that I think will surprise you even on some simple things. There’s also historically, as we alluded to sometimes, that little bit of out of phase between what you’re used to and what you’re seeing in the virtual world has caused people to get a little bit of nausea or sometimes more than that.
So, they advise you and they actually do a good job of rating things to say “Oh, this is sort of like a moderate experience” and they kind of tell you “Don’t go for the roller coasters” and those things. It is the first thing that you kind of work your way up to and I would agree with that because like we said, it’s immersive and the sensations you get are very similar to what you have in real life. So if fear of heights is a concern, you will experience that same sensation. The good thing is that you might be able to train yourself to get better with the fear of Heights. So, lots of cool things. The one thing I haven’t tried Tom and I know that you reached out to me once is connecting to others who are using the oculus. Do you have any insights on that?
Tom Mighell: So, no, I haven’t and I’m interested in doing it but what I need to go back and figure out when you first boot up the oculus, it gives you a list of everybody on Facebook who has an Oculus account. So, I’m assuming that those people also have an Oculus headset as well. I connected to you; did you get my connection?
Dennis Kennedy: I got the request but I was doing something else so I didn’t respond to it.
Tom Mighell: And you just ignored my request, all right. We’ll deal with that offline. But I miss that screen and now I can’t get back to it. So, I don’t know how to connect with people. But I want to — I mean the ways that I see, there are apps where you can go in and just chat with people and talk to them. There are apps where you can play games together with people and do things. So, I’m intrigued about the ability to share that virtual world with other people. But I will say that this is one area that I think that law schools could potentially improve on. We used to talk about being in second life a long time ago and going into these virtual worlds and having an avatar. Well, how is this so very different and could there be a VR law school class and we all sit around and talk about things in your innovation class with your students and talk about it all sitting in VR and doing those sorts of things? So, I’m very intrigued about connecting with people, I know that there are some places on there where you can go and join kind of battle royale games, where you can go and play against total strangers.
I’m not that kind of guy or that kind of user of the virtual reality but I am definitely going to take a look into it because I think there’s a social aspect to it that you at least need to explore and see whether it’s worth looking at.
Dennis Kennedy: So, let’s talk a couple of specific things and I wanted to mention costs. So, the cost is — to me, is like super affordable for this type of thing, given what the technology is, this is actually kind of amazing. So, $299 for the 64 gig and it’s like $399 for the —
Tom Mighell: $399 for the 256 gigs, that’s right.
Dennis Kennedy: So, I did the study and I think of you like a serious gamer or a movie person who likes to download and store things, then that’s where the 256 makes sense. For the rest of us, I went with the 64 and I put an extra $50 into the upgraded —
Tom Mighell: The strap, the elite strap.
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah.
Tom Mighell: Which by the way, and even though you put the money into it and I bought one too. Before you go and buy a strap folks, take a look and see, they put a delay on it because they’ve come up with some issues. So, we’re just being good reporters here saying that that there may be a delay on getting those straps. But I’m waiting for mine patiently because Dennis says it makes it so much more comfortable.
Dennis Kennedy: It is, it’s really awesome because you’re able to kind of — if you’re familiar with cycling helmets where you can kind of turn them and to tighten the strap on the back. It’s the same sort of approach and so by doing that, you get a better fit and it takes a lot of weight, it kind of redistributes the weight of the goggles. So, they’re not as heavy on your face, so that’s really nice and then the other question I had for people and I’m satisfied. Both of us have satisfied ourselves on this. This works if you wear glasses and there also is an extra spacer that they give you to give you even a little bit more room for glasses.
Tom Mighell: I will say though, even though I have the spacer, it is hard for me. That is one challenge that I have is putting it on and off without messing with my glasses and since I have progressive lenses, that’s one thing that I need to get used to. It’s hard to keep focused. I’m hoping the strap, the elite strap will help out. It’s hard to keep focused looking through the bottom because you have to look through the bottom of your lenses, it’s more of a close-up thing that you’re looking at.
So, it’s kind of hard with progressive lenses, seeing it but I’m making it work.
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah. And it’s like one of those things where you can imagine getting so far into this, you just decide to have like the laser surgery on your eyes just to — the virtual reality.
Tom Mighell: Well, let’s not go crazy.
Dennis Kennedy: It’s kind of those — one of those weird things and then I would guess we kind of talked about tips and advice. So, I will talk about the things that I’ve done that I like. So, I like the travel and experiential thing. So, I’ve lifted off in a balloon to go up in the air, that’s really fun. I’ve kind of taken a tour of Paris. I’ve been with — surfing these big waves off of Tahiti. I was flying with the Blue Angels; I was on a roller coaster. I think it was at Disney World waves and had that experience, all just to get information for you, our listeners.
And then I did this — I think I saw on YouTube; it was an immersion video of mountain climbing and I was on the Matterhorn really amazing but it is steep and when you look there. And so if you have fear of heights, it will definitely make you a little uneasy but it’s cool and it will let you — for me, it let me know — not that I would be able to climb mountains these days but it lets me know that I can have that experience and don’t have to do it in in real life, I can just do it nice and safely.
So, I don’t know Tom, if you want to hit a few highlights of what you’ve done.
Tom Mighell: I mean, I’m sort of doing the same thing right now because there’s lots of games that you can play and I’ve found a game where I’ve got to — pull(ph) a gun, there’s all these red people coming at me and I’ve got to — if I’ve got a gun in in front of me, I have to shoot them. If I don’t have a gun, I have to hit them and break them apart. If I fail then it starts all over again and I have to start again. It’s very anxiety-inducing because I will get there. I have three guys coming from me, from all three sides and I’ll get rid of them and I’m so excited and then I turn around and there was someone behind me the whole time coming up upon me and I’m dead and I have to start all over again.
So incredibly realistic and 15 minutes and I was in a complete sweat so actually a good workout too. I will say that I hate roller coasters and I downloaded the roller coaster app and I still hate roller coasters because I got motion sick on the first time that I did it. But I will say it’s an amazing experience to be able to get motion sick while you’re standing completely still in your living room is amazing to me.
The technology is doing something right if it can make you feel like you’re on a roller coaster when you’re just standing in the middle of your living room to me is something to behold.
Dennis Kennedy: And I’m a big roller coaster person but I wouldn’t definitely recommend that you work your way up to the roller coaster type of apps.
Tom Mighell: Well, the app actually has a helmet. It says wear this virtual helmet and apparently it like limits your field of vision somewhat. So, if you get motion sick, wear this helmet and the helmet didn’t really help. I still didn’t feel good.
Dennis Kennedy: Well, you always have the close your eyes option as you do in real life roller coasters. So anyway, we’ve kind of taken a look at our crystal ball for the legal profession. So, I think that we’re already seeing some applications. The associate training, Tom your idea of preferring clients for depositions and for court appearances. I think is such a cool idea. I really see the benefit of that and then I’ll go back to your point which I think is probably the main point people should take from this podcast is that this is like a new way to really tell stories effectively, in an experiential way. That opens up a world of opportunity and I guess before I let you wrap up Tom, I just want to say that I’m starting to think in terms of teaching that potentially doing a VR and law online event at Michigan State in the spring and then maybe even developing a VR and law kind of survey course in the same way that you’ve seen in law, blockchain in law, that sort of thing. Because I just see lots of potential and as the approach, we take to things being more online, doing less things in-person now fewer things in-person that this is going to open up some things and the cost in — as Tom says, the big jump up in technology is just opening all kinds of doors for me.
Tom Mighell: Well, I think as with all technologies that are relatively new to lawyers, this is going to take some time to catch on. I think that there are some lawyers and firms and law schools that are getting — that are already ahead of the curve and are doing that. But I think that it will be very interesting to see what happens when more mainstream lawyers start to see the value of it. And so, I’m interested to see where this goes and I really do think that it’s going to be some of these smaller law firms and the law schools that take the lead on what’s going on. So, we’ll revisit this back here in probably a couple of months and see how we’re both doing on our Oculus adventures and how the rest of the world is doing in VR. Before I move on to our next segment, let’s take a quick break for a message from our sponsors.
Advertiser: Wish you could get a quote and purchase an appeal, trustee, estate or any other court or fiduciary bond quickly online? Colonial surety company has every bond you need and is a direct insurer that’s U.S. treasury listed, licensed in all 50 states and territories and rated A excellent by AM Best so you can be confident, it’s a trusted resource. Get started at colonialsurety.com/podcast.
Advertiser: Looking for a process server you can trust? ServeNow.com is a nationwide network of local pre-screened process servers. ServeNow works with the most professional process servers in the industry, connecting your firm with process servers who embrace technology, have experience with high-volume serves and understand the litigation process and rules of properly effectuating service. Find a pre-screened process server today. Visit www.ServeNow.com.
Tom Mighell: And now let’s get back to the Kennedy-Mighell Report. I’m Tom Mighell.
Dennis Kennedy: And I’m Dennis Kennedy. Lots of interesting concern about deep fakes lately, especially as we record on election night. We talked about deep fakes extensively in episode 238 in June 2019 and I think we’ve mentioned it at different times in different podcasts. So, Tom, I think there’s been — let me just ask this, has there been a quantum leap in deep fakes in the last year? Both photos and video in the last year, a year and a half or so? Are we about where we expected we might be when we did the podcasts in 2019?
Tom Mighell: So, I’m going to start out by talking about fiction or on the least I’m hoping it’s fiction. By talking about a series that we just finished watching on TV called The Capture. It’s a British TV show and it presupposes that the major intelligence agencies have found a way to catch terrorists, essentially by faking video of them committing crimes.
And they call it a correction where they splice stuff into video where they use deep fakes to make it appear as if they’re doing something — these terrorists are doing something that the intelligence services say “Well, we knew they’re going to do it, we just need to have the evidence to prove it,” which to me is truly terrifying if the technology gets there.
I would think right now in real life, I don’t think that we’re there. I don’t think that the quantum leap is there at least in terms of its use or if it’s being used, we’re being totally faked out by it. But I will say there are a couple of examples that I think are interesting that have come up recently. One, there’s a — I believe it’s on Netflix, there’s a documentary called “Welcome to Chechnya” which talks about LGBTQ people in Chechnya and in order to protect their identities because they would be in danger of losing their lives if they came out on this movie. Is that volunteers agreed to assume their identities in the video.
So, they superimposed these volunteer faces on the real people in Chechnya, so I think that’s a positive example of how the deep fake technology is being used. More recently with politics if you’ve read, the latest story about the Hunter Biden Laptop had a fake report going out that was allegedly authored by a security analyst who also did not exist. And they had a picture of this analyst which was created using artificial intelligence, so the whole thing was completely manufactured, none of it existed.
I see that Facebook is announcing a ban on manipulated videos and images, which shows how seriously they take it. Microsoft and Facebook both are working on software to tell when images or videos have been faked, so they are improving deep fake detection. But the reason why I don’t think there’s a quantum leap in this, is that there are still easier ways of deceiving people that are working so well. Selective editing is huge these days, taking a video, taking it out of context, editing it so it only shows what you want to show and then outright lies about real images are still working really well, why do you need to create a fake?
So, I would say they’re getting smarter, the tech to combat it is also getting smarter. So far, it doesn’t look like it’s causing too much harm, unless like I said, unless it really is and we just don’t know because we’ve been faked out.
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah, I sort of think they were — maybe one or two exceptions. We’re about where we would expect it. I think if we went back a year and a half and predicted that we wouldn’t be too surprised by what we’re seeing but that doesn’t mean it’s good because I think we were concerned about these things. But yeah, we are at the point where you’re not sure that you can trust any photo because of photoshop. That, as you said, it could be the camera angle, zoom lenses, selective editing, we’re not really sure that we can trust what we see and then voice detection can be hard. So, what I’ve heard people say lately, who are in this area and especially in — I was talking to somebody in the entertainment field who was sort of jokingly saying that he didn’t like to put any pictures of himself or any video of himself that somebody just solicited from him. Like, “see what you look like if you’re older,” those kinds of things because he was certain that his face and perhaps his body would turn up in some porn video but as a deep fake.
And then the other thing that’s kind of surprising is where the deep fakes have gotten really good is on voice. So being able to imitate someone’s voice is apparently something that could be done really well and they’re starting to be concerned about that because it’s so good. So I think there’s a lot of ways we can be fooled and we see it every day but this is one of these areas where I think if you’re a lawyer, especially if you’re relying on any kind of photo, video or even audio evidence; you need to be aware of what’s out there and what can be done.
And then I also think that — I agree with the guy whose kind of fearful about sharing your image with people that — where you really don’t know how it’s going to be used because you don’t know how it’s going to, or where it’s going to turn up at. So, Tom, it’s time for that — our parting shots at one tip website, our observation you can use the second is podcast ins(ph). Tom, take it away.
Tom Mighell: So, in addition to my recent purchase of the Oculus Quest, the other purchase — I actually made this purchase maybe six months ago and it took that long to get to me. I made no secret on this podcast in the past that I have been looking for better ways to take written notes when I need to have paper.
We’ve talked about the Rocketbook and how we like the idea of the paper that you can just erase and have permanent paper forever. I kind of got tired of that because the pens didn’t really work the way that I expected or wanted them to work. And so now I’m hoping and thinking that I have found my solution and it is the reMarkable 2 Tablet. It is a very small e-ink tablet that literally feels like I am writing on a piece of paper. When I write on it, I can choose whether I’m doing a ballpoint pen or a pencil or a fountain pen and it will show — it will let me write in all of those different ways. There is a paintbrush too if I wanted to do some level of painting that’s on there.
But what’s nice about it that’s different from say, writing on your iPad or something like that is that I can put my hands all over it and it won’t show any marks, whereas if you try to do that on an iPad, you’ll get smudges and stuff from your palm or from other places because the apps just aren’t great enough to not recognize when you’re trying to write and when the rest of your hand is on your tablet. This is literally like putting your hand on a piece of paper and the only time that something comes away is when you’re writing on it with the stylus. What I also like about it is it can transcribe all of your handwriting into text and is extremely good at doing it. I don’t have great handwriting and it has a very good handwriting recognition, so you can do that and then share it with the app that you want to share it with.
Whatever note-taking or other apps that you might want to save it into and we’ll be talking about that more in an upcoming podcast. You can then send it to that app, so I am over the over the moon, head over heels in love with this thing. So far, I’ve had it for about a week, I’m using it as much as I can. I think it’s a great way for people who want to write and want an electronic way of writing. It is one more gadget but it’s one gadget that I’m going to at least stick with for the time being.
Dennis Kennedy: So, I have two very fast questions for you Tom. So, what’s the size of this paper size and what’s the cost?
Tom Mighell: Do I have to answer both of those questions? The size is actually sort of like paper-sized. I mean it looks — it’s like 8 and ½ by 11. Let’s see — I’m trying to see here what the exact specs are. It’s about like an 8 and ½ by 11 size piece of paper. This actually says that the screen is 7.4 by 9 by 6. So a little bit smaller than 8 and ½ by 11. It is $399 dollars so it’s not cheap and I will tell you, it took six months because either their production is not the best in the world or they had so much demand that they keep running out because that’s how long it took for me to get in their queue to get something delivered.
Dennis Kennedy: And then my second question is, “Did you find the Holy Grail for left-handers that we can have the fountain pen experience without smushing our hands?”
Tom Mighell: Yes. That would be it, I’m not going to use the fountain pen option on here but yes, I can actually write as if I have a fountain pen and I don’t get anything on my left hand — side of my hand, yup.
Dennis Kennedy: So, I have a quick parting shot and it’s a special preview for listeners of the podcast or at least it will be for a couple of days. So I’m doing a new thing, it’s called “Exponential Legal” and the idea here is that a group of us are creating a comprehensive course, online course to teach all the innovation skills that today’s innovative lawyer would need with the goal of allowing you to kind of double and quadruple what you’re able to accomplish and in fact, as they say become exponential. So, you can get a look at it, we’ll do an early version of course, a special prize to kind — so we can learn as we go to make it work and make improvements.
So lowered price, we’d like to get feedback from you and you can get the information at exponential.legal, so www.exponential.legal and take a look, let me know what you think.
Tom Mighell: And so that wraps it up for this edition of the Kennedy-Mighell Report. Thanks for joining us on the podcast, you can find shared notes for this episode on the Legal Talk Network’s page for our show. If you like what you hear, please subscribe to our podcast and iTunes or on the Legal Talk Network site where you can find archives of all of our previous shows along with transcripts. If you’d like to get in touch with us, remember we still like to get questions for our B segment, please reach out to us on LinkedIn or leave us a voicemail that number is 720-441-6820. So, until the next podcast, I’m Tom Mighell.
Dennis Kennedy: And I’m Dennis Kennedy and you’ve been listening to the Kennedy-Mighell Report Podcast on Legal Technology with an internet focus.
If you like what you heard today please rate us in Apple Podcast and we’ll see you next time for another episode of the Kennedy-Mighell Report on the Legal Talk Network.
Outro: Thanks for listening to the Kennedy-Mighell report. Check out Dennis and Tom’s book, the Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together from ABA books or Amazon and join us every other week for another edition of the Kennedy-Mighell report only on the Legal Talk Network