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The day is coming when “Wi-Fi Free” will be more desirable than “Free Wi-Fi.”
Siemens, 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.
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.
This 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.
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