The high-tech trial of the future – I've spend the past few days in a trial that features lots of lawyers and lots of scanned images that are displayed on big screens. I won't say more than it's a big class action case.
In my role as “technology anthropologist” I have a few observations. First, many of the big shot lawyers are carrying Blackberrys and tap away furiously (no doubt some are sending messages to one another) during the trial. Instant messaging would be a much better way to handle this (yeah, I know about the security stuff, but I'm just talking about what's possible). And the Apple Rendezvous and iChat stuff sounds like the perfect thing.
How about Wi-Fi Internet access in the courtroom? And not just for the lawyers, but for the witnesses too. Example:
Question: “So Dr. Expert Witness With Many Degrees, what basis do you have for saying … yada, yada yada?”
Answer: “Well, the Centers for Disease Control said that in their 1987 report on yada yada…”
Question: “You don't happen to have the study with you, do you?”
Answer: “Uh no, but if you give me a second here I can pull it up from their website.”
Again, I realize that courts aren't in a big rush to provide wireless Internet access, and people will harp about security problems and that's why we can't have it. But to quote a famous president: “Some people see things as they are and ask why. I see things that never were and say 'why not?'” [Ernie the Attorney]