Cyrillic doesn't do AI any favors, writes Robert Ambrogi, a Massachusetts lawyer and journalist who attended Skolkovo LegalTech earlier this month. 

On a visit to Moscow last week, I was surprised by what I discovered — a healthy legal technology industry, including an emerging ecosystem of legal tech startups. When I’d last been there 10 years ago, I found no sign of a legal technology market. But while there is now a developing array of legal tech products, their adoption is not keeping pace. By all accounts, Russian law firms, for the most part, remain legal tech luddites.

Lawyer and journalist Robert Ambrogi speaking at Skolkovo LegalTech earlier this month. Photo:

I was there to speak at Skolkovo LegalTech, a two-day conference held in the Skolkovo Innovation Center, a massive, futuristic building on the outskirts of Moscow, run by the government-funded Skolkovo Foundation and set in the Skolkovo Technopark, a 1,000-acre complex described as the Silicon Alley of Moscow. Housing some 1,500 startups, the Innovation Center is devoted to incubating innovative companies in IT, biomedicine, nuclear technology, energy efficiency, and space technology.

The Technopark seems a world unto itself. Besides the Innovation Center, within it are the Skolkovo Institute of Technology (Skoltech), a graduate research university established in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a small city, complete with schools and entertainment, that provides housing for the people and their families who work or study within the Technopark. Within the Technopark, I was told, drone taxis often hover overhead and self-driving cars provide ride services on the ground.

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