Thomson Reuters to spend more than $100 million annually on generative AI

Thomson Reuters has started rolling out generative AI into its products, notably in its flagship Westlaw Precision, and has doubled down on its promise to spend more than US$100 million annually on artificial intelligence capabilities.

Chief executive Steve Hasker initially unveiled the company’s big generative AI plans in May, a month after which it signed a definitive agreement to acquire, for US$650 million, Casetext, a company that uses AI and machine learning to build technology for legal professionals.

The company said then that the transaction, now completed, complements its AI commitments.

Casetext’s key products include CoCounsel, an AI legal assistant launched in 2023 and powered by GPT-4, capable of promptly delivering document review, legal research memos, deposition preparation, and contract analysis.

Casetext, the company revealed, will be integrated with Thomson Reuters’ proprietary solutions.

Further, the company’s flagship product, Westlaw Precision, will soon have a new generative AI skill, called Westlaw Precision AI-Assisted Research, enabling customers to ask complex questions in conversational language and quickly receive synthesized answers.

Generative AI skills in Westlaw Precision will be available to customers in the U.S. on Nov. 15. These capabilities will also be introduced to Westlaw Edge Canada platform in the first half of 2024.

Thomson Reuters also announced Practical Law Answers, a new chat-type interface for Practical Law customers, enabling them to submit queries and receive answers created by more than 650 legal experts. This feature is currently in beta, and will be available to customers in the U.S. in January 2024.

“Research that previously took hours can now be delivered in minutes, removing uncertainty, and delivering accurate outcomes, enabling our customers to focus their time where their expertise matters most,” said David Wong, chief product officer, Thomson Reuters.

As part of its generative AI roadmap, the Toronto-based tech conglomerate has also been pursuing acquisitions and partnerships left, right and center. Earlier this year, it acquired SurePrep, a tax automation software provider that uses AI to help U.S. accounting firms bolster productivity.

It also invested in Neo.Tax and TrueWind, which both leverage AI to automate tedious tax processes.

Earlier this year, Thomson Reuters also partnered with Microsoft, announcing a new plugin called Intelligent Drafting. The plugin, currently in beta, will provide legal content from Thomson Reuters products which can be surfaced within Microsoft Word for faster initial drafting, and then edited, with integrated access to Thomson Reuters knowledge, content, and AI technology.

Finally, Thomson Reuters said that it is investing in learning and development programs to upskill its 26,000 workers globally, including those in Canada.

The company’s beefy generative AI strategy comes as it reported a third-quarter profit of US$367 million, up from US$228 million in the same quarter last year, beating estimates.

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Ashee Pamma
Ashee Pamma
Ashee is a writer for ITWC. She completed her degree in Communication and Media Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa. She hopes to become a columnist after further studies in Journalism. You can email her at [email protected]

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