Unstructured media data is both a boon and bane for our modern society. While we can now record, collect, store, and organize life’s moments better than ever before, all that digital archiving is creating a nightmare for certain industries.

Exhibit A: legal professionals dealing with photos and videos during e-discovery.

On one hand, with so many new ways to capture moments in time—from traffic cams to personal mobile phone footage, home security systems, and more—the likelihood that someone recorded something important at some point is fairly high, meaning you’re much more likely to have that smoking gun on record than you were 10 years ago.

On the other hand, actually finding that smoking gun inside all that media is about as easy as trying to locate a striped, Where’s Waldo shirt on a packed street full of Spanish matadors on Bull Run day.

We won’t go so far as to say the task is impossible, but certainly not easy.

Luckily, with the introduction of AI-based image classification software, attorneys no longer have to manually sift through a mountain of unstructured media footage, just to find Waldo. Instead, you can let the computer do most of that grunt work for you, freeing up your time for more important questions… like, say, “Why do we still have bull runs, anyway?”

Here’s a look at the history of unstructured media data, the challenges it’s posed to legal image classification, and how Veritone’s legal AI image classification software is changing the way attorneys do business.

The Challenge of Unstructured Media Data

Readers who have followed along our AI Legal Revolution journey are already well versed in the issues that unstructured media has posed on the legal industry.

Unlike its counterpart, structured data—which has inherent categorization that defines the data contained within it—unstructured material is raw with no clear programmatic way to identify its content. Not only does it lack organizational structure, but it also comes in several different formats, making it extremely difficult to classify and search during discovery—particularly when dealing with unstructured media (as opposed to unstructured text).

What is unstructured media?

Whether they know it or not, most people are extremely familiar with unstructured media. These are files that are exchanged, viewed, commented on, liked, and archived every single day; things like selfies, mobile phone videos, Zoom Calls, and social media.

Unstructured media can also be found outside your own home in the form of CCTV footage, traffic cameras, satellite imagery, prison calls, body camera footage, and so much more. Which is great…until you consider just how much of it is out there.

Just how much is too much?

In recent years, unstructured data has become the single biggest contributor to the hurdles faced during document review.

Already, this material makes up roughly 80-90% of the content in any given discovery, with unstructured media files making up well over half of that number—and the amount isn’t slowing anytime soon.

According to some experts, unstructured data is on a staggering annual growth rate in the upcoming years, leaving attorneys with the daunting task of finding a needle in a haystack with nothing more than their own two eyes.

The cost of time and labor for such an undertaking is so daunting, that, in the past, attorneys on both sides of the aisle have agreed to exclude unstructured media altogether, just to avoid all that hassle and expense.

Bottom line? You might have everything you need to solve a case: a clear facial image of the suspect, the make and model of a vehicle of interest, six usable frames of a crime in progress, however, unless you have unlimited funding and a huge discovery team working overtime, that data might remain hidden when performed manually.

AI Legal Image Classification

Modern attorneys are stuck between the need for unstructured media evidence and the inability to process such large quantities manually. Fortunately, there are automated workflows and AI-powered solutions that can handle image recognition and classification, which can significantly reduce the time and cost it takes to process photos and videos.

That’s why we bring you Exhibit B: Veritone Illuminate, and the power of AI legal image classification and recognition.

Veritone Illuminate: Image and Object Classification

With Veritone Illuminate, attorneys no longer have to agree to leave valuable evidence on the table, just because it’s time-consuming and costly to review.

With Veritone’s facial recognition and object identification software, legal teams can now easily find and identify thousands of objects within unstructured media, including vehicles, license plate numbers, people, computers, and more. This information is analyzed, filtered, and organized into searchable results at near real-time speeds, so there’s no longer need for an army of reviewers to find exactly what you need—or a bottomless bank account.

As anyone who’s ever done e-discovery understands, knowing who and what to look for in unstructured media is just as key as knowing where to look. But what if you don’t know what you’re looking for—or whom, for that matter?

Veritone’s biometric scanners can just as easily be programmed to search content for a specific image, person, or thing, as it can be to find, identify, and categorize unknowable content.

Using contextual image classification and trace markers as a guide, our algorithms can detect, find, and classify anything from a face in a crowd to a license plate on a busy street, streamlining the organization of unstructured media exponentially. Helping you track down clues and connect patterns faster than ever before.

Hence, whether you are looking for early case insights, or have something more specific in mind, Veritone Illuminate has all of your legal image recognition, classification, and detection needs to be covered.

AI legal Image Classification: What Comes Next?

As society continues to settle into the new rhythm of our digital era, AI image analytics for legal teams will no longer be something that’s “just nice” to have around. With more and more cases relying exclusively on digital evidence, we predict that in the not-so-distant future, legal image classification tools will become absolutely essential to the modern legal process.

Luckily, not only does Veritone have these needs covered for you, but we already know how to help you out with the problem that inevitably follows on the coattails of image classification: redacting the stuff you don’t need.

Because when it comes to compliance with judicially mandated procedures, accidentally revealing the wrong individual’s personal identifying information (PII) isn’t a problem you want to have.

To learn more about Veritone Illuminate, Veritone Redact, and Veritone Evidence, contact a team member today.