AI Use in Jury Selection

  • 15 March, 2024
  • 73 MB

Artificial intelligence use in jury selection and witness credibility is the collab of the century! Guest host Ronan Duggan chats with Charles Bronson, Sales Director at EmotionTrac, discussing how EmotionTrac utilizes AI to decode human emotions. Charles sheds light on how this technology transforms attorneys’ strategies in case analysis and enhances the assessment of witness credibility. Explore the potential of this tech in jury selection, market research, and beyond. The future of law and technology, where understanding human emotion could be the key to unlocking courtroom success!

Charles Bronson, EmotionTrac


Ronan Duggan (00:07):
Hello. Welcome, everybody. This is the Justice Team Podcast and it’s going to be airing on the Justice Team Network. I am joined today by a gentleman with the coolest name I’ve heard in quite some time, Charles Bronson of EmotionTrac. Did I get that right, Charles?

Charles Bronson (00:20):
Yeah. That’s right, EmotionTrac.

Ronan Duggan (00:24):
EmotionTrac, right? This, again, is Ronan Duggan. I’m standing in for Bob Simon. I am AI. I am Bob Simon’s AI, actually Irish. Charles, good to have you. Now, tell us, what do you do, Charles? Tell us all about it. EmotionTrac, where do we even start?

Charles Bronson (00:39):
Yeah. Well, I like the AI part. That’s good. I haven’t heard that. So every attorney, no matter what walk of life they’re in, they want to know what people think about their case. Correct?

Ronan Duggan (00:50):

Charles Bronson (00:51):
So what we do is we change one word in that phrase, in that sentence. So we help attorneys find out and discover, we help them know what people feel about their case.

Ronan Duggan (01:04):
Right. Yeah. I can tell you that our job, fundamentally, is to get a sense of where our case lies with human thought, human feeling. So tell us more. What do you do then?

Charles Bronson (01:15):
Yeah. So you just said thought and feeling in the same sentence and we got to separate that out. So everyone’s… One of the premier historical trial attorneys is Jerry Spence and he said that every decision that we make is based on some emotion that we have and then we find reason to justify it.

Ronan Duggan (01:38):
Very good.

Charles Bronson (01:39):
And the shorter form is feelings are the ultimate decision makers.

Ronan Duggan (01:44):

Charles Bronson (01:45):
And I remember hearing Lanier last year and Lanier was talking about his psychology practice and whatnot. And he said that the jury or room or someone you meet is going to decide how you land with them, how they feel about you in 1/35th of a second.

Ronan Duggan (02:06):
Yeah. Do me a favor. When you-

Charles Bronson (02:07):
So that’s pretty quick.

Ronan Duggan (02:08):
Right. When you trout names like Lanier, he’s one of the… Even I know him. He’s one of the top trial attorneys on the planet. So you’re talking about these high-end super humans who’ve been doing this for a while and trying to figure out these emotions with just their old-fashioned brains, right?

Charles Bronson (02:22):

Ronan Duggan (02:22):
Okay. So what do you do then?

Charles Bronson (02:24):
Yeah. So here’s what we do. What we do is we work with video. So we can work with a commercial spot that an attorney wants to air. We can work with a commercial spot that Corona beer and Snoop Dogg want to air before they spend two and a half million bucks on the media buy, right?

Ronan Duggan (02:42):

Charles Bronson (02:42):
But I fell in with EmotionTrac working on the trial attorney side. So the whole idea is to give an attorney the knowledge, the EQ, I call it the emotional intelligence-

Ronan Duggan (02:56):
Emotional quotient, isn’t it?

Charles Bronson (02:58):
Yeah. Emotional quotient behind their arguments. And the easiest argument to work with is a mini opening statement or an opening statement or a clopening which is a closing and an opening mixed together. So we could work with a 20-minute video. We have, with Danny Rodriguez, we can work with a 50-second video. And we just did one with Evan and it’s about a 12-minute video-

Ronan Duggan (03:26):
Is that Evan Garcia, the trucking guru?

Charles Bronson (03:29):
The world-famous Evan Garcia. Yeah. And he’s in trial right now.

Ronan Duggan (03:34):
God bless him and all the Garcias.

Charles Bronson (03:36):
And all the Garcias. 100 people are going to watch this video, whatever medium, whatever element we’re talking about. While they watch it, we are decoding the movements of their faces. We don’t care what they’re thinking. We don’t care what they actually do. We don’t care what you actually see because what we’re picking up is the teeny motion of their face before it’s visible to the human eye.

Ronan Duggan (04:02):
So would this mean I’m really sad?

Charles Bronson (04:04):
Yeah. Yeah. Well, here’s the easiest one. The easiest one to recognize is contempt.

Ronan Duggan (04:09):

Charles Bronson (04:09):
And contempt is, and you can model it as you go around the countryside today, contempt is when one side of your mouth has an uptick and the other side is stable.

Ronan Duggan (04:22):
That’s so strange. My wife does that nearly every day. Every day, I see that face. I thought it was love and-

Charles Bronson (04:28):
Yes, it’s not-

Ronan Duggan (04:29):

Charles Bronson (04:29):
It’s not love.

Ronan Duggan (04:29):

Charles Bronson (04:30):
But yeah, it’s funny because a lot of… Not a lot but attorneys will come up and we’ll talk to them at the booth or something like that and they’ll say, “Can I use this with my wife?” The answer is no. You’d best go to John Gottman, the marriage counselor.

Ronan Duggan (04:44):
Let me back up. Sorry. I tend to dive on when I should stop and listen. What’s your background? Why are you getting into this or why did you get into this?

Charles Bronson (04:52):
Well, me, personally, I was at a trade show representing a software company and somebody came up and asked for the elevator pitch. And that person said, “Well, that sounds pretty boring.”

Ronan Duggan (05:05):

Charles Bronson (05:06):
And I said, “Well, give me your elevator pitch,” and I said, “That doesn’t sound boring.” And that is Blue Ocean so I want to work with you and-

Ronan Duggan (05:15):
As ignorant as I am, Irish, tell me, what’s Blue Ocean? What was that?

Charles Bronson (05:18):
Oh, Blue Ocean is a phrase in the tech and the startup world. It means no one’s done it before.

Ronan Duggan (05:23):
Wow. So tell me, when you talk about film and that, so you would film, say, a subject group of people who are hearing about a case. And then, that film is then analyzed by what?

Charles Bronson (05:37):
Yes, good point. So actually, we’re not filming anybody. We’re giving them the video. We drop it into our audience and 100 people watch it and they’re watching it on their smartphone.

Ronan Duggan (05:51):
Ah, okay.

Charles Bronson (05:51):
So we have two patents around that they capture technology.

Ronan Duggan (05:55):
Got it.

Charles Bronson (05:56):
So while they’re watching it, we’re catching and analyzing in real-time.

Ronan Duggan (06:01):
Meaning the software is detecting what their face is doing against the phone.

Charles Bronson (06:05):

Ronan Duggan (06:05):
Could that be… That’s amazing. Can that be translated to filming, say, a focus group and then filming the people in the group and then doing the same thing or does it have to be that close?

Charles Bronson (06:15):
Yeah. No, it has to be that close. At this point… Because here’s the other idea was that if we did film a focus group, then we would need to have the camera concentrated on each face.

Ronan Duggan (06:28):
Got it.

Charles Bronson (06:28):
Now, I’m sure that in the future then, we could have a camera that’s smart enough to capture ten faces and that’s probably an excellent way to go or direction to move in. So this is a focus group on steroids because we’re doing 100 people and you’re doing a focus group of 6, 8, 10 people. And the issue with focus groups, we’re not trying to replace focus groups because you get good information from them from a discussional standpoint.

Ronan Duggan (06:55):

Charles Bronson (06:55):
I’m not sure that’s a word.

Ronan Duggan (06:56):
No, I think it is. You also have to ask the right questions to evoke the responses, right?

Charles Bronson (07:01):
Yeah. So when I did one focus group with an attorney in an office. Every question that they asked, unless I was the first respondent, every single question when I answered it was influenced by the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 people I heard beforehand. So that’s the group dynamics and we get rid of that.

Ronan Duggan (07:19):
Have you done any analysis to see if an Irish accent asking a particularly disturbing question gets a nicer response emotionally?

Charles Bronson (07:26):
Yeah, no. Yeah, no. Definitely, the Irish and the more northern it is, the better it works.

Ronan Duggan (07:31):
Oh, shit. I’m Southern as hell. I’m very-

Charles Bronson (07:32):
Oh, you’re Southern. You’re from Cork or someplace down there?

Ronan Duggan (07:35):
Southeast Wexford of all places.

Charles Bronson (07:36):
Oh yeah. No, you’re screwed. Yeah. That’s not going to work. And here’s the other part of it is that because the attorneys are concerned about this and the technology is all capturing unconscious reactions. Depending on the literature that you google or look up or who you talk to, it can take a half a second to four seconds for a thought to come out of our pea brains.

Ronan Duggan (08:02):
Meaning for me to think and my face or my wife to do the contempt smile?

Charles Bronson (08:06):
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It could take three seconds. As you’re speaking in the video, we’re capturing it in a nanosecond. I think we beat the 1/35th of a second that Lanier talks about. So we’re catching it in the nanosecond that it’s happening but we’re capturing 100 people at once and we’re measuring… We’ve boiled it down to 29 emotions so we’re capturing 100 times 29… What’s that? 2,900 every second. But the AI is taking those 2,900 images and rendering them for against the entire database of tens of millions that we’ve captured.

Ronan Duggan (08:45):
Tell me again, how many emotions did you say you boil it down to?

Charles Bronson (08:48):
Well, we’ve told that we’re heat seeking for 29 but then we amalgamate them.

Ronan Duggan (08:56):
I was only aware of three emotions so this is new to me. This is giving me-

Charles Bronson (08:59):

Ronan Duggan (09:00):
Yeah. Happy, sad, and drunk.

Charles Bronson (09:03):

Ronan Duggan (09:04):
I tell you what… Sorry. Don’t mind me. But what’s the most exotic emotion that you detected if you could describe such a thing?

Charles Bronson (09:11):
Oh, I think it’s on the negative side. So for me, I think the most exotic emotion is disgust.

Ronan Duggan (09:22):
Disgust. Right.

Charles Bronson (09:22):
Yeah. Right? I mean, revulsion, disgust, outrage.

Ronan Duggan (09:26):
I just like to say something on behalf of my former nation. Not all Irish people drink so the joke about the drunk emotion was in bad taste. Now, tell me, years ago I remember seeing a show where they… It was one of these case of cold file type cases and they had an interview of a boyfriend who wasn’t initially suspected of having killed his girlfriend. A local news channel filmed him and his visual cues were then picked up on by some FBI specialists who said, “That dude’s lying.” So this is an enhanced version of that in the modern era.

Charles Bronson (10:00):
Yeah. So if I talk to people, whenever we start talking to someone, they first go to facial recognition for security purposes. Because everyone’s… I mean, at the airport today, right? Everyone’s getting facial recognized or facial captured. And then, the next thing is lie detection. And so, we’re not concerned about any of that stuff. We’re just concerned about the emotions that are responses to your case so we can help you know what’s going on. When I talk to attorneys like that, there’s an attorney in Seattle that is a Spence guy, been to the ranch, taught at the ranch, and he said, “You know, you’re taking me into an area that I’m not really comfortable going in.”

Ronan Duggan (10:42):
Why… What-

Charles Bronson (10:43):
Feelings and emotions and whatnot. I said, “Mr. E, what’s the problem? You go there all the time-“

Ronan Duggan (10:49):
It’s Mr. E, by the way. He just announced the guy’s name. It’s Mr. E.

Charles Bronson (10:52):
Eric. “Eric, that’s where you have to go.” And I know that if anyone has been to the ranch, they’ve gone there because they get destructed, self-destruct, and then built up again.

Ronan Duggan (11:05):

Charles Bronson (11:06):
So… I mean, here’s just one quick example. So an attorney contacts me and says, “I want to use you guys on a case because I don’t know if I have a case.” And then a paragraph, he says, “I have a fellow who was on a cellphone and didn’t stop and crossed the railroad track and was killed. So I need to know whether I have a case or not.”

Ronan Duggan (11:33):

Charles Bronson (11:34):
So what are the bad facts there? The bad facts are he didn’t stop, he was on a cellphone, and he got himself killed.

Ronan Duggan (11:42):

Charles Bronson (11:43):

Ronan Duggan (11:43):

Charles Bronson (11:44):
So if you told that story and you showed some pictures and then you did a focus group. And then, I can bet you a buck that if there are eight people there, nine people would say, “It was his fault,” right? But then, of course, you got to get in and develop the whole story and look at, “Okay. How fast was the train going? What did the engineer have to say about it? He’s been driving that route for five years.” And then you’d look and you’d say, “Well, the California PUC, Public Utility Commission, came out and did a study for one hour. One hour, one random hour.”

Ronan Duggan (12:24):
And you see the new emotional content emerging in the people listening to what they didn’t do.

Charles Bronson (12:28):
But see, what we can say, what the attorney can say in your story is, “PUC came out for one hour. And while they were there, they recorded nine instances of people not stopping at that stop sign.”

Ronan Duggan (12:40):
Got it. Got it.

Charles Bronson (12:43):
Okay. So that’s a rational discussion. Nine people didn’t stop. They didn’t say how many people crossed, right? It didn’t say, “Well, 9 out of 9,000.” They just said, “Nine people didn’t stop.” So what do you do with that information from a rational standpoint? Well, we throw that all away. We say, “You don’t need the rational discussion there. Just look at the graph.”

Ronan Duggan (13:04):
Look at… Right. I want to ask you-

Charles Bronson (13:06):
Just look at the graph.

Ronan Duggan (13:06):
There’s a couple of things that occurs to me about this. So obviously, we would consider this and we, in our profession, consider this a very useful thing. And it’d be used for good to detect what we have to deal with in terms of a landscape of people who will appraise our cases. I want to know, will other industries be used in technology like this in interviews and all that kind of carrying on? I’m just curious if you know anything about that.

Charles Bronson (13:28):
Well, I’ve got an anecdote for you. So an anecdote for you is that-

Ronan Duggan (13:33):
Anecdotes excite me greatly.

Charles Bronson (13:34):
Anecdotes accepted. So Paris Rex was talking in… The first time I met him a couple of years ago-

Ronan Duggan (13:43):
Rex Paris is a very handy attorney. I think he’s in the inland, isn’t he?

Charles Bronson (13:47):
Yeah. He’s in there.

Ronan Duggan (13:47):
I’ve never met him but he’s a handy chap.

Charles Bronson (13:49):
But he was talking about using this technology five years ago with a company from Wisconsin and he wanted to invest in the company. And they disappeared and they never found out what happened to that company. But I think that he said in his presentation that we think they got purchased by Apple.

Ronan Duggan (14:09):
Wow. Yeah.

Charles Bronson (14:10):
So I mean, I think if you want to know the truth, and I know there’s tech guys that will, on their home computer, all their computers, they cover up the camera. Because they, the real deep tech guys, are pretty sure that they’re being monitored.

Ronan Duggan (14:27):

Charles Bronson (14:28):
So yeah, so-

Ronan Duggan (14:29):
It even occurs to me if I presume even we’re in an election year, the thoughts and… Sorry. The feelings and the emotions of potential voters would be very relevant. So I can imagine these kind of technologies have leached out into that sphere in some way.

Charles Bronson (14:43):
Well, there’s a guy that’s speaking every day out in the hinterland there who’s just speaking pure nonsense but everyone’s pretty riled up. And the smart money would say, “Why don’t we take this guy and give him the messages that are going to produce votes?” So if we get someone in a political arena, it’s… Okay. They have huge market research companies doing their stuff, right? And they have huge exposure out there on the campaign trail. But I would think that what they do, they would say, “Okay. Let’s get our 25 messages. Let’s have this guy or a gal speak those 25 messages and let’s know which ones work.”

Ronan Duggan (15:21):
Are emotionally connecting to people.

Charles Bronson (15:22):
Emotionally connected.

Ronan Duggan (15:24):
I want to ask you. So we digressed, which we tend to do.

Charles Bronson (15:27):
We did.

Ronan Duggan (15:28):
Tell me this. In terms of the metrics… What scares us lawyers, I’ll tell you right now and I can be a young dinosaur in many ways, is additional information sometimes feel scary because it’s another thing I have to analyze. So what is this condensed into in terms of a booklet or a page or a printout?

Charles Bronson (15:47):
No, that’s a good… Yeah. Really, really great question. So here’s number one, number one is forcing you to sit down and make a 5-minute video. Condense your 45-minute opening statement into 5 minutes. And remember, in this medium, you only have to say it once, “He didn’t stop at the stop sign.” You don’t have to say it 45 times, “He didn’t stop at the stop sign.” So universally, and especially with younger lawyers, they send us the video.

Ronan Duggan (16:19):

Charles Bronson (16:19):
We have a setup call. This is what… Tell us about the case. What do you think you’re trying to find out?

Ronan Duggan (16:25):
Are you the one having these calls or do you have staff or what do you do?

Charles Bronson (16:28):
Yeah. No, I do them and my other two… The founder does them and our chief revenue guy does them.

Ronan Duggan (16:34):
Do you want to name them or is that-

Charles Bronson (16:35):
Oh, yeah, yeah. Aaron Itzkowitz and Jonathan Brickman.

Ronan Duggan (16:39):
Mr. Itzkowitz and Brickman.

Charles Bronson (16:40):
Yeah. So the three of us do-

Ronan Duggan (16:42):
And Charles Bronson.

Charles Bronson (16:43):
Yeah. That’s right.

Ronan Duggan (16:44):
You sound like a superhero team in the ’70s but go on.

Charles Bronson (16:47):
So the three of us do that and we’ve done enough of them so that we help you find out what you don’t think you know. So that’s number one. You make the video, you send it to us, we reject it, and tell you to do it better.

Ronan Duggan (16:58):

Charles Bronson (16:59):
Do it differently.

Ronan Duggan (17:00):
Condense and get to the point of the issue.

Charles Bronson (17:03):
Yeah. So here’s a good example. So someone gave one the other day and I sent it back and said, “You forgot the seatbelt.”

Ronan Duggan (17:11):
Did the driver forget the seatbelt as well?

Charles Bronson (17:15):
No. What happened was that… Yeah. No. This is interesting. What happened was the driver was wearing a seatbelt. And when we had our briefing, it occurred to me that because this driver was pregnant, that maybe the seatbelt was really important. And the question was, “Okay…” Because she ended up having a premature birth. And so, the question, “What was the effect of the seatbelt? Did the airbag go off? Did the front airbag? Did the side area… Blah, blah, blah.” So we had all that discussion and then made the video. And then a month later, it was, “Well, we just got some bad news. We just got some dash cam and she wasn’t wearing her seatbelt.”

Ronan Duggan (17:55):
There you go.

Charles Bronson (17:56):
I said, “Well, now you need to test.” So then, the test comes out and so her… You asked about the output. So you make the video. Honestly, that’s the best practice that you guys need-

Ronan Duggan (18:06):
But that’s what I mean. So we will have sent you the now corrected video-

Charles Bronson (18:10):
You just send us the narration and we do all the editing.

Ronan Duggan (18:12):
Oh, okay. Meaning is it me who would be speaking in the video?

Charles Bronson (18:17):
She’s speaking into your computer, your iPhone, or, well, I guess they have other kinds of phones.

Ronan Duggan (18:22):
Are they seeing my face or just audio?

Charles Bronson (18:24):
Just the face.

Ronan Duggan (18:25):

Charles Bronson (18:25):
Yeah. But we got on the audio and then after that, you’re done. You’re done. We actually-

Ronan Duggan (18:32):
I heard someone knocking. I don’t know if it’s impending doom or… Carry on.

Charles Bronson (18:36):
Yeah. No idea. There we go. But the… It’s survey questions. So we’re going to show you how they’re feeling, what do you want to ask for survey questions?

Ronan Duggan (18:44):
Gotcha. So-

Charles Bronson (18:45):
And the survey question can be really helpful because you can ask… You want to ask about credibility. You want to ask about liability. The guy with a cell phone, whose fault was it? So you can ask the question two different ways in two different spots in the survey. And think ten questions. So the second question could, “Hey, did it matter that you had cellphone?” And then, the ninth question could be, “No cellphone was found in the wreckage. Does that influence your decision?”

Ronan Duggan (19:13):
Got it.

Charles Bronson (19:13):
So we help you. In the setup call, I’m taking notes and trying to figure out what you want to find out. But then, I give my questions over to our social scientist and she could be on the call with me or not. But she writes them psychologically so that people on their smartphone can answer them easily.

Ronan Duggan (19:34):
So in other words, the data I ultimately get back having engaged in the services, is it a yes or no? Is it very… What does it tell me?

Charles Bronson (19:44):
Yeah. So ten survey questions, some of them can be open-ended. Like here’s an open-ended question, the last question we always ask is, is there anything else you would like to know?

Ronan Duggan (19:54):

Charles Bronson (19:55):
But most of the questions are multiple choice. Because then, we can give you meaningful data. So again, back to the cellphone question, somewhat influences my decision, not at all, influences it quite a bit, influences dramatically. So we always grade the multiple choice question because we want to give you enough data to try and avoid central tendency.

Ronan Duggan (20:19):
So you’re getting the answers to the questions plus what’s the commentary on the emotion behind the answer, if any?

Charles Bronson (20:27):
Okay. So what Shelly will do… Shelly Carson, she’s our social scientist. She will take the data and she will watch… There’s nine emotions maps that you also need to go on your dashboard and watch. So you’ve got access to the nine maps and the first one that you watch is called curiosity. So you’re going to watch this map, you’re going to watch the second map, you’re going to watch the third map. And then, you’re going to get the survey questions with the data. So you can take the data and you can… Here’s one of the beauties. You can watch the anger map and it looks like an EKG.

Ronan Duggan (21:04):
Oh, really?

Charles Bronson (21:06):
And then, you can click men and then you can watch the difference between men and women.

Ronan Duggan (21:11):

Charles Bronson (21:12):
I mean, that is huge. That is huge. And so, we actually just did a presentation. So the men’s graph looks like this.

Ronan Duggan (21:19):
Gotcha. Yeah.

Charles Bronson (21:20):
The women’s graph looks like this.

Ronan Duggan (21:23):
Wow. I want to ask you, do you… You’re collecting a lot of data through this, are you going to collate this into something that then can be produced as a neutral analysis outside of all that?

Charles Bronson (21:34):
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Shelly will write up a 20-page report and she’ll cover the objectives which are the five objectives. She’ll cover the survey questions and responses. But then, she’s going to make comments. She’s going to say that, “Okay. In this particular graph, the women were sleeping. And if you didn’t agitate the women in this story, then you’re going to fail unless you have an all male jury.”

Ronan Duggan (22:03):
Got it.

Charles Bronson (22:04):

Ronan Duggan (22:04):

Charles Bronson (22:04):
Now, the other thing is there’s only 3% of cases that go to trial.

Ronan Duggan (22:08):
This is true.

Charles Bronson (22:09):
But every one of our attorneys can take that report into mediation.

Ronan Duggan (22:14):
Yeah. I want to ask you something. This is a bit sci-fi and maybe judges would never allow it. But is the future of this something that you could bring into, say, a voir dire, have some camera set up on a laptop that will be giving you feedback on emotion straight away? Again, we talked about this before we filmed and myself and Bob probably reached the conclusion or many would that maybe this would never be allowed by judges. But it seems like the technology might get you there one day, is that right or no?

Charles Bronson (22:44):
Well, no. It’s interesting because the product we’re working on right now is for witnesses. And a witness, obviously, could be your plaintiff or it could be an expert witness. And what we’re working on is you give us a 1-minute video-

Ronan Duggan (22:59):
Of a depo or something?

Charles Bronson (23:00):
Well, it could be from a depo. But better is, and I’ve done this with attorneys, is, “Okay. You got the depo footage,” but I think depositions probably are an unnatural environment. So with your plaintiff, for example, it would be just do a Zoom with him or her and just ask him three or four questions, the ones that you want to know, to find out if she or he can carry the weight, right?

Ronan Duggan (23:24):
Meaning emotionally respond appropriately or just… I don’t understand that.

Charles Bronson (23:29):
Yeah, yeah, yeah. No. So in this case, I call it I credibility, right? So you want to know if your plaintiff can be… How that plaintiff is going to be received. If that plaintiff is just a jerk personality, this is way to show that person that he’s a jerk and he’s got to tune it up here. But back to the product, so we’re developing a product that says, “Give us a minute video of somebody.” And based on that video, you might not take that person’s case.

Ronan Duggan (24:02):
Charles, you’re blowing my mind here.

Charles Bronson (24:06):

Ronan Duggan (24:06):
Sorry. I want to ask you. Are you California-based? Is this national? What are you looking at?

Charles Bronson (24:09):
Yeah, no. It’s definitely national. I happen to be in California, everybody else is in Florida.

Ronan Duggan (24:14):
Wow. I mean, these are the kind of tools that are just going to be… I presume, eventually, they’ll become ubiquitous across our industry. I guess that would be your hope, naturally.

Charles Bronson (24:23):
Yeah, no. Back to your question about voir dire, what about the idea that, “Okay. So we’ve got one person in a controlled environment.”? It could be the neurologist. How many cases have you been involved with where you found out afterwards that the jury hated the neurologist? Or let me be nicer, the jury didn’t quite like that neurologist.

Ronan Duggan (24:45):

Charles Bronson (24:46):
It’d be nice to know that going in. Not that you’re going to get rid of his expertise, but maybe you can help him manage his personality which might be-

Ronan Duggan (24:53):
Absolutely. I mean, I can tell you, certainly, I’ve come across experts in my time that are highly qualified given the correct technical answers. But for whatever reason, jurors bloody will hate them. So this is something that could be analyzed through these kinds of systems.

Charles Bronson (25:07):
Help you manage the expectation. How about somebody that has a bicycle accident? Wants to sue the rubber company and the pedal company and the bike company and the distributor and the attorney’s able to show her or him a report that says, “You know what? Everybody said, ‘Put a bandaid on it and get out of my life.'”

Ronan Duggan (25:27):
Guys, we’re moving into a brave new world here. This is the kind of tech… I mean, God almighty. This is unbelievable. So tell me, do you envisage this as something that would go with traditional jury consultant type focus group crew people? It’s just another tool they could use as well too.

Charles Bronson (25:42):
Oh, it would change your life. It would change… Imagine if you had… Well, back to the idea that you’ve got, what? 40 people?

Ronan Duggan (25:48):

Charles Bronson (25:49):
And I haven’t been in the-

Ronan Duggan (25:51):
[inaudible 00:25:51] selection. I must admit. I don’t do a whole lot of focus groups myself but a lot of my friends do.

Charles Bronson (25:55):
But no, back to voir dire. How many people come in the first wave?

Ronan Duggan (25:57):
Yeah. It’ll be a fallen panel. It’ll be 14, 16, double, triple. It’s… Yeah.

Charles Bronson (26:03):
Okay. So you’ve got 16 people and you’re asking questions and you’ve got either a consultant or someone from your firm trying to take notes.

Ronan Duggan (26:11):
It’s often just me.

Charles Bronson (26:13):
Well, that’s impossible.

Ronan Duggan (26:13):

Charles Bronson (26:14):
So you’re thinking, “I like number 16 but I can’t make a note of that right now,” right? So right now, our camera work is individually but I think the iPhones and the Samsung’s, they have multiple cameras on the back. So what if our camera was able to record or analyze all 16 people at once?

Ronan Duggan (26:39):
Now, again, I think this is… Again, it was a fascinating potential. Because obviously, I think normally you’re not allowed to film jurors and not allowed to do all that. But I suppose the AI tech doing it that might feed it live is no different than the human who might be sitting there making conclusions as well. So that would probably be the argument some trial lawyer will make in the next 15 years.

Charles Bronson (26:58):
Well, I think you’re the guy to do it. I think that… Now, the question is, is it an invasion of privacy? If you get to do it, does defense get to do it? Although we know they would be a couple of years behind.

Ronan Duggan (27:09):
Well, yeah. Right. I mean, it’ll become like an arms race of recognition of emotions, I suspect. I mean, this is the kind of technology that… It’s so interesting. We often talk about this amongst ourselves. The various technologies introduced through artificial intelligence and how they’ll affect, they certainly affect the written world we’re in. But it seems like technology like this may eventually make inroads into the emotional content that we engage in, in dealing with these grand operas.

Charles Bronson (27:40):
Yeah. I think that our goal is to make it as easily more and more digestible. So we’re constantly talking about, “Okay. How do we make this instantly useful to you guys?”

Ronan Duggan (27:51):
Yeah. Right.

Charles Bronson (27:52):
Right? And keep in mind, we’re doing 100 people. So we do 50 men and 50 women. And this is where I go immediately on the case debriefing. I go to our first chart and our second chart. Our second chart is anger, fear, and disgust mixed together. So I spend time there. It’s like, “Okay. Let’s look at all the spikes.” You have to watch it back and figure out whether that’s good for your thing, bad for your thing. But the easiest one is, “Okay. Just flip between men and women.” So if you have a jury consultant, just have him or her, Claire Plaquen, you mentioned, okay, have her watch this six times.

Ronan Duggan (28:29):
Claire’s great by the way. Hello, Claire.

Charles Bronson (28:31):
Hello, Claire. But have her watch it six times.

Ronan Duggan (28:33):
And hurry.

Charles Bronson (28:34):
Yeah. And if you wanted to, we get the demographics. We get, “Okay. We’ve got 15 women. Here’s their age group. Here’s their income. Here’s their ethnicity.” And if you were… I mean, I get this all the time. It was, “I need an LA audience.” “Why do you need an LA audience?” “Because it’s different than an OC audience.”

Ronan Duggan (28:51):
Is that true?

Charles Bronson (28:52):
I don’t know. But to me, it’s about the human story.

Ronan Duggan (28:56):
No, but have you noticed… You mentioned the emotion, disgust. Is there different areas that we’ll have more disgust than, say, somewhere else?

Charles Bronson (29:03):
Yeah. We don’t know that. We don’t know. We’re too busy to figure that about-

Ronan Duggan (29:06):
But it’s figurable outable?

Charles Bronson (29:08):
It’s figurable outable. Yeah. Sure.

Ronan Duggan (29:09):
Oh, wow.

Charles Bronson (29:10):
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I know that guys that listen… There’s a guy in Dallas. I can’t remember his name. Petri… But he spends a lot of time on the political side, right? And you hear guys talking on the east coast about, “Oh, I’m from West Virginia. We’re pretty conservative and 9 out of 12 people in my jury are from this camp.” But the [inaudible 00:29:32] doesn’t enter into it so it’s the human reaction. I mean, come on. Are people going to react to a baby being killed the same in Seattle as in Florida? I mean, they’re going to have… We’re capturing their subconscious reactions.

Ronan Duggan (29:48):
I want to ask you a question on that. I’m just deadly curious now. I’ve done… In my own recent career in my firm, we’ve done a lot of cases, [inaudible 00:29:58] cases, where the decedent had drugs in their system like methamphetamine. Have you tested that particular issue?

Charles Bronson (30:05):
Actually, that’s a really good question. So no, we haven’t had a case like that. However-

Ronan Duggan (30:11):
Well, buckle up my friend, Charles. I’d be sending you some.

Charles Bronson (30:14):
Okay. But here’s a… We’ve had cases like the person involved in this case was homeless.

Ronan Duggan (30:21):
I’ve had one of those too.

Charles Bronson (30:22):
The person involved in this case in a very conservative town in the southeast is gay, lesbian, trans so… Oh. Yeah, no. He was a beautiful one in California where an incident happened. And then, your cases take how many years to get to trial and in between time, this person transitioned. So the attorney is, “I got to explore that.” Now, you can stick eight people in a room and discuss it but you can ask 100 people and you’ll get the barometer right away.

Ronan Duggan (30:58):
Let me ask you one other question that occurs to me. In terms of your survey, and you ask a series of questions whatever detail the attorney wants, do you have situations where the answer doesn’t match the emotion? I’d imagine that’s-

Charles Bronson (31:13):
Yeah. No, you do. You get a little bit of wobble. And-

Ronan Duggan (31:18):
Like for instance, on an issue like that, let’s say a delicate cultural issue that certain people have different views on and they might be embarrassed to tell what their emotional instinct is. They might say no when they’re actually thinking a yes or feeling a yes emotionally. Have you tracked that?

Charles Bronson (31:37):
No, but let me answer the question. So there’s survey questions where people can lie and that’s the written response. Did it influence blah, blah, blah? No. They could be lying there. But you can go back into the movie and you can watch as you talk about it. So you can say, “Okay. Let me just watch this 30-second piece and let me watch the women.” Or you could say, “Well, let me watch the women that are in their 20s or 30s or 40s or 50s.” So that’s where you can contest it.

Ronan Duggan (32:11):

Charles Bronson (32:11):
And no, we’re not that-

Ronan Duggan (32:14):
But it goes back to that original idea of an FBI agent going, “That dude’s lying. He’s saying one thing and not matching the same thing.” So it’s just a fascinating series of metrics to go with it.

Charles Bronson (32:23):
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, no. It’s all metrics. And actually, the FBI guy, we’re a lightyear ahead of him because he’s looking at the physical visible reaction and we’re getting the facial before it’s visible. So we truly are getting the unconscious or subconscious response.

Ronan Duggan (32:40):
My goodness. I tell you what, I want to say, if this is deployed by spouses against their other spouses in the family home, it’s going to wreck a lot of marriages. So I think as much as I love it in my industry, I want it to stay the F away from homes around America and elsewhere. It’s absolutely fascinating. I want to tell you… Actually, Charles, if someone wants to get ahold of you, how do they get ahold of you?

Charles Bronson (33:05):
That’s pretty easy. The cell phone is (415) 530-8742 and email is [email protected].

Ronan Duggan (33:20):
EmotionTrac. Did you get that? If not, play it back a sec and listen on again as I often do.

Charles Bronson (33:24):
And the founder is aaron@emotiontrac and my other colleague is jonathan@emotiontrac. So we’re on the case and our goal goal is to help you, A, find out the gaps that you aren’t aware of so you can avoid process surprises. But really, it’s to let you orchestrate the case as you want it to play out.

Ronan Duggan (33:48):
Let me tell you. So how long have you guys been doing this now? How long has this business been existing and available to attorneys?

Charles Bronson (33:53):
Well, I’ve been… This is my third year in it. The AI has been in development for four plus years.

Ronan Duggan (34:00):
Are you getting a lot of repeat customers? I assume you are.

Charles Bronson (34:03):
No, that’s what’s really interesting is we’ll have someone that work on a case and get $126 million verdict and we don’t see them again.

Ronan Duggan (34:10):
That seems like a foolish strategy for the one who made $126 million verdict, whoever that is.

Charles Bronson (34:16):
Now, we might’ve only played a small part in there. And in that case, one of the small parts we played was testing the upper limits of the valuation.

Ronan Duggan (34:26):

Charles Bronson (34:26):
Well, here’s another great example, A huge case with three defendants. So an attorney might have gone in thinking Defendant A was where his, we used to say, bread was going to be buttered. But the survey responses show, “Well, if that’s your strategy, you are going to fail because one third of the people thought that Defendant C was the culprit.”

Ronan Duggan (34:53):
Well, I can tell you, my boss, Mr. Hanapur, he… He hates that word, by the way.

Charles Bronson (34:59):
Which one?

Ronan Duggan (34:59):
Boss because-

Charles Bronson (34:59):
Oh, boss? Yeah.

Ronan Duggan (35:01):
We’re comrades, of course. He is very into technology so I’m going to tell… As soon as this is over, I’m going to tell him all about this. He’d be blown away. But would you ever have a retainer package where firms can have you on the hotline, kind of, “We’re going to send you a video-“

Charles Bronson (35:14):
Oh, yeah, yeah. No, exactly. No, we’ve got one. We’ve got the 20-page report and we’ve also got a 2-page report which is put the video in and in the morning, you can get the valuation.

Ronan Duggan (35:24):
Well, I’ll tell you what, I-

Charles Bronson (35:25):
And that’s a… Just on that one. Someone called us up the other day after a Mitnik Conference. And then, on a Saturday someone called us on a Sunday and said, “Hey, I have a case on Tuesday. I’d like to use you guys on that valuation thing.” So she made a video on Monday midday. We tested it Monday. We gave her the result. So that, for her, was, “I need to be confident in asking for 5 million bucks.” But this-

Ronan Duggan (35:52):
Yeah. I have no problem asking for any amount of money.

Charles Bronson (35:53):
Well, because some… I mean, you’ve got to have a reason to be committed to 5 million bucks.

Ronan Duggan (35:57):
Yeah. Right. I agree.

Charles Bronson (35:58):
And it can’t be an intellectual commitment. It’s got to be, “This is what this person deserves from his or her life circumstances and what has happened here. So justice deserving this person.” Oh yeah, so does a homeless person deserve the 5 million?

Ronan Duggan (36:16):
The answer is yes and more. We’ll get you 35.

Charles Bronson (36:19):
The answer is yes but there are some venues where people wouldn’t say that.

Ronan Duggan (36:23):
Tell me this. Are you guys on the conference scene? I sometimes go to conferences. I haven’t seen a booth of yours. Is that something you guys do?

Charles Bronson (36:30):
Well, we go… Primarily, we went to national trial lawyers.

Ronan Duggan (36:32):
Okay. Very good.

Charles Bronson (36:33):
We always go there. We go to all the TLU events. We tend to go to Lanier and-

Ronan Duggan (36:39):
Do you do CALAREN? That’s one of the ones I would regulate-

Charles Bronson (36:41):
Yeah. We don’t do CALA. We haven’t done it.

Ronan Duggan (36:43):
I’m sure Bob will have you at Law-Di-Gras. No question about it.

Charles Bronson (36:47):
We want to do the ones where the attorneys are there to learn. So something like Lanier, as everyone comes out sucking on the fire hose. But if they go to a vendor and they hacked into talking… I mean, most of you all understand that the legal industry is about 15 years behind most other industries in terms of technology. And so, there’s a lot of catch up to do and a lot of it is just process. A lot of it’s content. A lot of it’s taking process and streamlining it, making it 100 times quicker, blah, blah, blah. But this is really taking you guys into a different dimension.

Ronan Duggan (37:22):
I really think so. Again, a lot of us were thinking that AI was mainly roaming around in the realm of writing and reading. But it seems like this might be an inroad into the other fancy stuff we do and that’s both exciting and terrifying. But let’s focus on the excitement, let’s use this as a new tool. Talk to Mr. Bronson here. I can confirm that he’s a legit fella and this seems like a really exciting business.

Charles Bronson (37:48):
It’s fun. We’re having a ball.

Ronan Duggan (37:50):
Sir, pleasure meeting you. I’ll be in touch.

Charles Bronson (37:52):

Scroll to top