Kevin Kelly thinks about thinking the unthinkable:
The futurist Herman Khan introduced the idea of “thinking the unthinkable” as a way to loosen up the imagination in trying to forecast the future. Most time we are unable to guess the future because we are inhibited by conventional wisdom – something that everyone knows is true. For instance everyone (including me) knew that an encyclopedia written by amateurs that could be changed by anyone at anytime was simply a silly, impossible idea. That prevented anyone from forecasting wikipedia. Herman Khan stressed that we should assume what we know is wrong and begin to imagine how the unthinkable might happen.
Looking back even ten years, who would have predicted the legal present we’re experiencing now? Services like Facebook, LinkedIn, Avvo, LegalZoom weren’t around, and the biggest technology decisions most lawyers had to make was between Wordperfect and Word.
Looking forward to 2020, what is “unthinkable” for law practice? What things are we absolutely certain won’t happen in the next nine years? Here are a few of mine:
- There will be no “medium-sized” law firms any longer. All lawyers will either practice in firms of less than 10 attorneys or more than 1000.
- The court system, as a venue for dispute resolution of any kind, will cease to exist. Every dispute will either be settled in mediation or through submission to a computerized, artificial intelligence system, and parties will be bound by its decision.
- Thompson/Reuters/West and Lexis/Nexis will merge. Nobody will notice.
- Law schools will merge with business schools to actually teach students both to “think like a lawyer” and to run a profitable business.
- Facebook will introduce a feature that automatically recommends to divorcing couples how they should separate their friends and property.
Leave your unthinkable 2020 predictions in the comments, or tag them on twitter with #2020Unthinkables. I’d love to hear what you think won’t happen in 2020, too.