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Thursday, April 30, 2015

I’ve seen the future, and…

The following contribution to the Mini Symposium# 4 is by Margaret Ryznar (IU McKinney).

I’ve enjoyed reading the anniversary posts and planned to contribute.  However, by the time I completed article submission season, end-of-semester tasks, and my tax filing, I noticed that we were up to a difficult question—what does the future hold? 

It’s a question with many aspects to it, but in a way, we have already seen the future, and it’s increasingly heavy on technology.  Technology assists us in every way, from the way that legal services are delivered, the way law teaching is done (powerpoints in the classroom, entirely online course programming, etc.), and the way legal research is disseminated (Westlaw, SSRN, online journals).

I’ll skip the normative discussion of these technologies because so much has already been said on it.  I’ll just say that most of the technological tools I’ve used, I liked.  And, it’s tough to go back.  On the other hand, I did recently purchase a typewriter, and I like that too.  The best use of technology, we’re often told in tech talks, is as a supplement—and that aligns with my experience.

Will technology make things cheaper?  Sometimes.  But, as an example, Scholastica is slightly more expensive than the older ExpressO (although Scholastica does offer more services to editors).  So, maybe technology does not always make things cheaper, just better—and we’ll take that too.  

The exact future of our use of technology depends on the evolution of technology, which has a frenetic pace.  The initial IBM PC’s had only a 640KB usable RAM limit (Bill Gates allegedly had said that “640K ought to be enough for anybody,” but later convincingly denied it).  Ten years ago, this blog was highly innovative, and now—only ten years later—the question is pondered—is blogging passé? 

My answer is no, and it’s not sentimentalism talking.  Just as I got great information from the blog when I was on the meat market, so it is true now.  Just as I got ideas for my research and teaching from the blog, so is true now.  Ultimately, this blog is just an additional technological tool to connect and learn, but it continues to be a highly useful one—which is a huge testament to its founder, Dan.


Posted by Howard Wasserman on April 30, 2015 at 09:31 AM | Permalink


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