View through a Crystal Ball darkly…

Inspired by an interesting talk by SF writer Charlie Stross1 about what society might be like in 40-50 years time, I was thinking about what the Scottish Legal Profession might be like in a similar timescale. The problem as Mr Stross points out is that it is fairly easy to extrapolate current trends over the next 10 years, but after that you know that currently unforeseeable events will occur and change things significantly.
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Reach out and Touchscreen

Touchscreen are now becoming ubiquitous on smart phones and other gadgets, and new computer Operating Systems are now start to include touchscreen options as standard. So how useful are they for your office computer systems?

Using a touch screen as a “user interface” has a lot going for it. It is intuitive, you literally point at what you see, and it can be more ergonomic than various other methods. The previous downsides of high price and low responsiveness have been largely removed by cheaper high quality touchscreens: decent 15 & 17 inch screens can be bought for around £150 and slightly more for 19 inch.
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The Great Dictator

In an earlier blog, I made a remark about some firms still using cassettes for dictation, which attracted a couple of comments. Therefore I thought I’d go over the moderns options, pros and cons.

The first decision is to dictate or not to dictate in the first place. The advantage of not dictating is a possible reduction of costs in equipment and staffing, but this is set against having to deal with the production of text yourself. This ranges from typing everything yourself (where output depends on your typing speed), to document creation systems which let you simply pick from banks of styles (which reduce ability to make bespoke documents) This is not an either/or proposition, but a continuum, and the more work a document creation system does for you in general the dearer it costs, possibly outweighing the savings of have less staff.1
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