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Attorneys with Their 'Crackberry': Entering the Cybernetic Age

Attorneys and their 'Crackberry'
Attorneys and their 'Crackberry'
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The President is known to have one, there is even a dedicated website, and you see endless professionals with the signature hand-to-ear pose. Yes, I am referring to the ever so beloved Blackberry; but because I do not yet have a clever pop culture nickname for an iphone I will take aim at the popular 'crackberry.' At any rate, I am commenting on the same technology - these little portable computer and telecommunication devices that have made email and other communications faster than what we once thought to be the ultimate in speed for written communication, internet, media, etc. I am not all that surprised to see so many attorneys brandishing theirs. Admittedly, I have my rudimentary version, although I carry it as inconspicuously as possible for fear of being far from in vogue.

Before long I came to find myself wrapped up in texting some clients and associates more than email for what would otherwise be just a short phone call. At least for this attorney, I had to contemplate the 'crackberry' culture and technological attaché that has become even for the stilted and pedantic among us acceptable as a modicum of information exchange and style. The wireless "techie" syndrome appears to have pervaded most of us, maybe perhaps some of the former naysayers.

As a species we are becoming more wired, if not on our morning Starbucks as a matter of habit, it is on our little PC/telephones. Call it progress or call it an inevitable dystopian fate - conspiracy theorists would likely call it part of the Big Brother Master Plan - cell phones with little doubt are here to stay and become even more sophisticated, the "toy" for all ages to make being interfaced more easy. Who ever thought you could file a brief with the court using a cell phone? Or, what about live-conferencing via satellite while traveling? Well, you can now for better or worse.

The upshot is the convenience and efficiency technology creates, while the downside is being shackled to work as long as you carry the work tool. I have heard people refer to their cell phone as a leash, not just for home but also for their job. I prefer the term shackle because it has a far greater meaning in the context of servitude, though I am not sure how involuntary.

If we are in the Information Age, is the next age the Cybernetic Age? Where computers and artificial intelligence begin to combine with human activity, thinking, deciding, acting, and imagination it would seem to be the stuff that this Age will be made of, and why not? Could even attorneys one day be replaced by complex A.I.? I somehow doubt it as the legal profession has had a fair hold on its monopoly over their industry. Yet, I will not be surprised to see legal software eventually in use that performs much of the work that attorneys at one time took pride in doing by themselves. You can imagine what the typewriter did for applying with pen and ink one's legal writing, and what it did for writing in general. It was probably a welcomed technological innovation, as was the printing press, whereas the person nevertheless was the thinker and creator. Now, imagine how legal and other professionals took to the PC! Then add internet, and so on and so forth. The evolution is ostensibly for more artificial influence and involvement.

The older generation will resist it more, but the younger is being cultivated by the e-machine. Think about our bizarre cyber-lives that hundreds of millions of us lead on-line through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, where the manifestation of friendships and relationships, networking and socializing has taken on this medium. While keeping us connected it also generates a life lived through technology that is, metaphysically, becoming more difficult to differentiate from life in person, face-to-face, and in real 3-D as opposed to the simulated variation. Ultimately, we have to take a step back and examine where all this technology is taking us. Taking the human race to the moon is one thing, altering our reality is quite another proposition. As far as for attorneys and any professionals, we already feel overworked. Adding technology that in the end is undoubtedly just to add more work because there will be no excuses not to - this is considering the admonishment for not using your 'crackberry' - makes for a greater maelstrom for us all.


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