Oswald get your hammer, it’s a computer fight

computer_hammerWhen I look back at what lawyers came into being to do and when I look forward at what lawyers must do to prosper in this grim future everybody keeps talking about, I see the same things: help clients to deal with what’s new and challenging – the complex, ambiguous and uncertain.

Routine legal services are indubitably at risk of going to alternative providers – LPO’s, limited service law firms, accounting firms, lawyers who learn to work with computers in new ways, and, simply, computers.

Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, authors of The Second Machine Age say there’s not much left (legal or otherwise) that computers can’t do better than people.  Seeking to identify capabilities people will need in the coming age,  Brynjolfsson and McAfee say,

our recommendations about how people can remain valuable as knowledge workers in the new machine age are straightforward: work to improve the skills of ideation, large-frame pattern recognition, and complex communication …

These are also just the skills lawyers need for tackling new and challenging problems.

The Second Machine Age makes its case with stories of computers than can play chess and drive automobiles. Famously, it tells the story of Dutch grandmaster Jan Hein Donner, who, “when asked how he would prepare for a chess match against a computer, replied ‘I would bring a hammer.’”

That’s who you want for your lawyer, a guy who brings a hammer to a computer fight.

 

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