Paulina Grnarova strolls through the garishly bright rooms of the WOW Museum in Zurich, fascinated by the optical illusions around her. They remind the 30-year-old CEO of her childhood, when her fondness for geometrical complexity first developed. Her father, a computer science professor and entrepreneur, nurtured her interest in technology and mathematics from an early age and came up with fun ways to bring the material to life. “As a kid, I saw maths problems as puzzles to be solved. By the time I was seven, I was already entering maths competitions in North Macedonia, where I grew up,” says Grnarova. A place to study computer science at ETH followed in due course, and she eventually went on to found a software company based around artificial intelligence, or AI.
Grnarova loves the way the WOW Museum plunges visitors headlong into a world of mathematical and optical conundrums. She’s also a big fan of gamification in apps such as Duolingo, which she’s been using for years to improve her German.
“I’m a classic overachiever, not just at work but also in my personal life,” says Grnarova. She makes time for body combat, fitness training or dance lessons on an almost daily basis. But she admits it can be hard to switch off from work, and she often spends her free time reading books or listening to podcasts by other successful female entrepreneurs. Grnarova has always been driven to succeed: having graduated at the top of her class from the University of Skopje, she received a prestigious prize from the president of what is now North Macedonia, which gave her the opportunity to study abroad. She initially attended EPFL in Lausanne, before moving to ETH Zurich for her doctoral studies.
Artificial Intelligence for lawyers
Just over a year ago, Grnarova founded the company DeepJudge together with three other doctoral students from the Data Analytics Lab, which is led by Professor Thomas Hofmann. “Our platform is designed to revolutionise the way lawyers and other legal professionals work,” she says. AI-powered software takes over manual and other time-consuming tasks by automatically searching through thousands of documents and compiling the relevant information. “That gives lawyers more time to concentrate on the strategic side of their work,” says Grnarova. Most of today’s legal software focuses on one specific job without exploiting the parallels and synergies that exist between different tasks. In contrast, DeepJudge operates as a kind of all-round virtual assistant that supports lawyers with a wide range of tasks.
And that’s not the only thing that puts DeepJudge in a class of its own. Trained using millions of publicly available legal documents, the DeepJudge AI understands the semantic content of source documents and processes this in a context-sensitive way. Among other things, this enables the software to compare different contracts and automatically produce a template for a new contract. The platform can also “smartify” existing legal documents automatically by augmenting them with paragraphs from relevant laws and court rulings and adding references to existing registries of commerce. And it allows users to redact sensitive information with just one click.