News from the LegalTech keynote this morning: First, search nerds love Malcolm Gladwell. Second, intuition is the key to being a top lawyer.
(No. 2 is true, clearly, but not sure Gladwell is first to point this one out.)
In addition to Gladwell, the New Yorker staff writer and author whose favourite topic is dispelling common conceptions about success and failure, the players in today’s roundtable were Dr. Lisa Sanders, columnist for the New York Times and technical advisor to House, M.D., and David Craig, chief strategy officer at Thomson Reuters.
Discussing how technology should be used to streamline problem-solving in professional circumstances — aka how to deal with the “tsunami of information” that exists today — the panel agreed that the only solution to more information spilling forth from technology is the filter of human intuition. Until search engines can filter as well as they can find, they only add to confusion.
For example, to use a problem presented by Sanders this morning, a “highlighter yellow” woman shows up in an emergency room. A stack of test results and days later, they do not have a diagnosis. Plugging her symptoms into medical diagnostic aids produces hundreds of possible conclusions. But then an old, wise doctor steps backs and ponders the case and the proverbial light goes off. It’s Wilson’s disease.
The lesson here is supposed to be that an experienced practitioner with well-developed intuition and experience will outrun technology.
Is there such thing as an intuitive aid? Not yet. Does anyone know what kind of aid can help develop intuition in professional problem-solving situation? Only in theory.
“Our job is to build the interface between the person and the tsunami of information,” said Gladwell.
Sanders expounded: technology should not “give us what we ask for, [which is] more data. Give us better data.”
Frustrated lawyers spending hours digging through Westlaw or Lexis would certainly appreciate this intuition innovation — especially when they are too tired to intuit anything themselves.
Questions from the audience presented lawyers as reluctant to change (shocker), but Gladwell argued the change needed to originate in law schools. Of course, change at law schools does not come so swiftly either.
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