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MarsRoverSiemensSiemens, a global powerhouse in electronics and electrical engineering, joined with Industry Week to host a recent conference in New York: Manufacturing in America. The focus of the conference was Additive Manufacturing (3D-Printing), a high growth area in which Siemens is a leader.

Additive Manufacturing has been around for 25 years, but has really taken off in the last couple of years, as new usages are found not just for modeling and prototyping but final manufacturing as well. Industry analyst Terry Wohlers projects 3D-Printing revenues will to be $3 billion this year, and $6 billion in 2014 — with 28% coming from parts considered to be final manufacturing.

BeHappyJuly9-2013“Look over your ranks watch them with care.” Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago, 1973

A camera on a pole in Jackson Heights (Queens), NY — put up on July 9, 2013. In the background is a McDonald’s “Be :)” sign.

BicyclistOnFifth“The culture of American business is enveloping everything in its path by appealing to individualistic instincts while it reinforces its messages with the imagery of technological gadgetry and consumer delights.” Herbert I. Schiller, The Mind Managers (Beacon Press, 1973)

Photograph: Stephen Wise

LegalTech2013dAccording to Kroll Ontrack the challenges facing e-Discovery over the next five years are “monstrous,” as Big Data becomes ‘bigger data’ and exabytes grow to zetabytes.

In the document review process that means more of the work done by attorneys is now being done by TAR — Technology Assisted Review (also known as predictive coding, intelligent review and computer assisted review).

Discovery has always been expensive. Yet in the digital age, the costs of discovery are spiraling out of control. Unfortunately, true to Moore’s law, discovery will likely become more costly as electronically stored information (ESI) continues on the path of exponential growth. As a result, the trend of data growth will likely increase the weighty discovery burdens that litigants–especially organizations–already bear. Consider the following example. In 2008, the average end-user may have owned 100 gigabytes of information. Just four years later, that number is now closer to 1,000 all of which could be subject to review for discovery purposes in a given action. This calculus is weighty for individual parties, but crushing for enterprises with thousands of employees, each of whom may respectively have a terabyte of potentially discoverable information.

LegalTech2013eThis trend of growth figures to continue given the proliferation of new communication and storage media. Indeed, it appears that there is or will be a discoverable recordable digital format for everything conceivable: from email, voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and social media, to short message service (SMS) and instant messages (IM). Even the GPS in your car could be subject to discovery. ESI is not just limited to text or audio data either– it even encompasses data about that data. Meanwhile, all of this electronic detail is archived and stored in an increasing number of smart phones, tablet computers, servers, clouds, and databases, often with multiple redundancies and no central index. With an average cost of at least $18,000 per gigabyte for document review–not to mention the costs of processing and collection–discovery of all matters relevant to a claim or defense can quickly surpass the value of the controversy. In summary, the information explosion has generated and will continue to generate extremely complex and expensive litigation conundrums for organizations. Philip J. Favro & The Honorable Derek P. Pullan, Michigan Law Review, 2012

Commentary: Technology is being allowed to overrun society and along with it the legal profession. The costs associated with productivity gains can be seen in fewer workers, inflated costs, and ‘review’ by robots rather than humans. The lawyers who remain are trying to stem the tide through ‘proportionality’ in the hope of finding balance and fairness, at least in discovery costs.

More Guts. More Glory. More RAM. 2013 RAM 1500

New trucks come loaded with safety and security features, but also best-in-class ways to be unsafe — including WiFi, multimedia, and the need for technology.

The Porsche 911 and Volkswagen Up were among the winners at the New York International Auto Show.

The Porsche 911 won World Performance Car and the Volkswagen Up received World Car of the Year.

The Nissan NV200 (selected as the exclusive taxi for New York City beginning in 2013) was unveiled at the 2012 New York International Auto Show.

Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renauult and Nissan, was on hand.

Photographs: Stephen Wise

Detroit is unwilling or unable to produce a basic car that retails for around $10,000. Ford is closest with the Fiesta starting at $13,200. The average price of a new car in the U.S. is $30,000.

At the NADA/IHS Automotive Forum 2012 we asked some industry “car guys”, including “Mack” McLarty (advisor to three U.S. presidents), if they were troubled by the fact that there are no new cars available in the U.S. for $10,000? To their credit most said “yes”, they are bothered by it, but blamed material and regulatory costs.

Commentary: Most consumer product innovation in the U.S. is geared toward high-end luxury (see $20/pound lettuce). What’s needed is innovation that leads to price reductions, especially in critical areas such as transportation and health care. With OEM margins in the 25+% range, there is room to maneuver. Nissan, which sells the Versa in the U.S. starting at $10,900, operates on all ends of the economic spectrum. Something comparible from Detroit would be good for Detroit and America.

Photograph: Stephen Wise

“How To Be A Con Man & Not Look Like One.” Social media and web robots are taking the ‘con’ to a whole new level — for those who seek to artificially increase the ‘yield’ of their social media marketing.

A recent Search Engine Strategies conference in New York had a session that addressed: “Making Your Bot Look Real” and “How To Create Fake Profiles.”

It brings to mind a hoax by Tom MacMasters, an American heterosexual Ph.D. student, who created a blog called “Gay Girl in Damascus.” From Feb 2011 to June 2011 MacMasters stirred things up in Syria with his fake lesbian, Amina Arraf.

“Verve” — A do it yourself e-Discovery software.

“Powered by Kroll Ontrack — Driven by You”

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Stephen B. Wise

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