Technology Gone Wrong

From the Wall Street Journal, here’s a cautionary tale about relying too heavily on new technology to give you the right answer. Apparently GPS devices have been steering drivers wrong all around the US. The article tells the story of a man who, following the directions of the disembodied voice, found himself staring out over a 200-foot cliff in New Mexico.

One of the problems is that the software in the devices has difficulty distinguishing between a highway and a dirt track – only one of which is appropriate to take your car down of course.

I may be stretching here, but I sense a parallel to legal research. The technology allows us to have practically every case ever decided at our fingertips. And plenty of commentary as well. But the software is not very good at telling us which resource is the best one to get you where you want to be. That takes human intervention. So from now on, when I note up a case in Quicklaw, I’ll be thinking of Mr. Sussman in his car, looking out over a cliff. And then I’ll probably head for the library.


  1. Evan, Paved 4 lane or gravel path…what an excellent analogy to use for our summer and articling student training. Thanks!