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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

It is not "How," It is "When"

Judge David Langham wrote a very enlightening blog post today about how advancing technology is impacting the world and more particularly the workers' compensation arena. As usual, he is right on target with the issue that is going to have the most influence over our changing world.

The Judge mentioned the advent of driverless technology. Ironically, it is national Distracted Driving Awareness Month. If you are driving about the State of New York with a phone in your hand you'll most likely get a ticket for sure this week. The driverless car is already under development with a target for production by major corporations such as Apple by the year 2020. In California Google already has test vehicles on the road.

Drawing even closer to our own universe, computer technology is already being produced to perform some legal functions especially in drafting pleading. It was also reported today that the LSAT scores of applicants to the nation's law school have fallen dramatically as the smart students seek other educational avenues with brighter futures. As news reports for fantasy football are successfully and entirely being computer generated, so legal opinions may also be written by computers.

Could the next target be replacing hearing officers with ATM machines? What needs to be decided anyway? Does it need a human touch? Besides the nuclear attack decisions targeting the destruction or dismantling of the the entire workers' compensation system, there is already a dearth of reported decisions nationally. [Just a side note, the computer is already fighting me over the correct present day spelling of "dirth." Incidentally, that is the only vocabulary word that I remember from my SAT pre-course decades ago at the Rhodes School in NYC. So be it.]

Have we exhausted the issue reservoir for workers' compensation issues. Is the decision process going to become a clearinghouse of assorted co-minged and interconnected benefit payments requiring one computer to argue with another computer. Real issues like medical treatment have been sub-contracted out in some jurisdiction, ie. California, to a geographically diverse network of "medical experts" who never have the opportunity to evaluate the testimony of a live witness.

People are creatures of habit. Change is not easily accepted. Whether I like it or not I will be using the newly announced "USB-C" cable in the near future. It is not "How," but rather  "When." As Judge Langham predicts, workers' compensation will change as a consequences of technology. It will not be good or bad, it will be different. We will all adapt.

Click here to read, "How Will Attorneys (or any of us) Adapt?" by Judge David Langham