Predictions 2018

November 27, 2017

I have spent more time than I care to recall over the last
fortnight reviewing old predictions and inviting many prominent experts to
contribute their predictions to the SCL predictions blog (2018 predictions coming
soon). If you have yet to be invited, that might well be the product of my
inefficiency and it shouldn’t stop you contributing (the standard invitation
and guide is set out below).

One slight twist this year was to invite regular contributors
to look back at their successes and failures. I suggested 2008’s predictions as
a fair comparator. That was trickier than I thought it might be – as one
regular pointed out, some predictions were so old and detailed that it was hard
to recall whether they had come true or not.

It is only fair that I look at my old predictions. Although some
were just plain silly and might well have been intended as a joke, I am really
quite impressed with those from late 2007 at least. Big tick for the
self-congratulatory one about SCL being wonderful and making more material
available ‘principally electronically’ (wow – electronically no less). Ticks too for the suggestion that distinctions
between content forms will get harder to make as it is all data, though I am not sure whether the
prediction that ‘browsing on a mobile phone will just seem ordinary’ was
anything other than a statement of the bleeding obvious. A prediction about
consolidation in the legal software supply business came true but, with a wave
of start-ups transforming the field, it might not have stayed true for long.

I give myself more credit for spotting that there will be a
realisation that YouTube and other viral marketing vehicles ‘can be manipulated’
– if only I received royalties for that insight, paid in roubles. A big tick too
for some despair about difficulties of enforcing trading standards and, as I
write this on a Monday that is apparently still
Black Friday, some credit for the following observation:

public will continue to trade with anyone offering a better price,
notwithstanding all evidence that 20% of the people making best offers are
crooks living abroad and daily alarmist TV and newspaper reports of Internet

Plus ca change …

If you want to
contribute to predictions, here is the standard invitation
and guide:

I am again looking to post something on the SCL web site which reflects
the predictions of leading experts in IT law and legal IT – this time for 2018.

Since I have almost given up on the wider world showing any semblance of
logic in its developments, it is asking a lot of you to come up with a
prediction that makes any sense. But you might like to try.

Those offering predictions who have submitted before might like to look
back at previous submissions and comment on their accuracy. I have been
trawling through and going as far back as 2003 – quite a different legal tech
world. Predictions for 2008 might make for a more sensible comparator but few
contributors have that long a track record. Arguably, anything pre-Brexit vote
was a different world.

The predictions supplied last year were presented as a series of blog
posts and were very popular, as ever. There will be a tweet (or two) for each
prediction (even the very short ones).

Feel free to look beyond the obvious IT issues and consider the issues
that might arise from other forms of technological advance too. I am looking
for at least 50 words per person, but if you want to provide more, even lots
more, that’s fine; some predictions might well make a short independent

Contributions will be displayed on the SCL Web site with full
attribution, including contact details and description (which you may provide
but please don’t make them too long). A series of Predictions blog postings
will begin on 1 December. I hope to publish selections in the Dec/Jan issue of
the magazine from those replying by 10 December.

Submitting a prediction will be taken to include permission for the
prediction to appear on the SCL LinkedIn Group pages and every other SCL outlet.

Do feel free to encourage your colleagues and clients to contribute. I
would especially value contributions from outside our normal circles – most
obviously but not exclusively from technologists and e-commerce entrepreneurs
who say something that IT lawyers would find useful.

Laurence Eastham
Editor, Society for Computers and Law (Computers & Law magazine and
The Coach House
SN11 9LT
01249 822400