Welcome back to our jargon busting series, where every month we simplify five key technological buzzwords and technical vocabulary. If you've ever wanted to know what ACE stands for, or would just like to sound clever when confidently namedropping terms like 'computable contracts', read on:



Cloud computing

Anything referring to "the cloud" refers to a system of information storage located, or hosted by remote servers – rather than your own computer storage. Cloud-based systems are popular for law firms, as they allow files and information to be accessed from anywhere, on any device with an internet connection and access to the materials.


Hardware or software that surrounds a network or computer system, preventing unauthorised access or manipulation. Historically, fire walls surrounded houses in non-combustible materials to prevent the spread of flames.

Chatbot or ACE (Artificial Conversational Entity)

A method of communicating between a human user and a programme, where the programme or chatbot interacts through simulating normal conversation. The average chatbot is unlikely to pass the Turing test, as they commonly respond to text signals which pre-programmed stock phrases. Nonetheless, they can be a useful customer service or marketing tool and the market is increasingly seeing more sophisticated virtual assistants being developed.


A process of encoding information or data in such a way that only those who are authorised to do so can read it. Even if someone unauthorised gained access to sensitive files, the encryption would make it much harder to understand their contents.

Ricardian or Computable Contracts

Stanford defines computable contracts as, " contractual obligation that has been formulated such that a computer system can both interpret and determine whether the obligation has been complied with." Computable contracts can actually identify, interpret and determine whether obligations are met, as opposed to the machine readable contracts that can only assist so far as users correctly relay those obligations to the software.