I am not a dinosaur. Except that I prefer e-mail to texting, and I forget that my students have never used a record player or lived without the Internet. I’m not near the national average of 14 daily visits to Facebook, and I’ve yet to text a photo of my genitals–a practice so routine that it has a name, “junk shots” and its very own app, “Snapchat.” When I need to know how to turn off a nagging dashboard light, I prefer written instructions over YouTube, and I do not video every concert and papal investiture I attend. I still have two landline phone numbers.
Omigosh! That last one. I AM a dinosaur!
According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, more than 41% of American households have no landline phone, relying on wireless service alone. For those between the ages of 25 and 29, two-thirds are wireless-only. Per an IDC report sponsored by Facebook, four out of five people start using their smartphones within 15 minutes of waking up and, for most, it’s the very first thing they do, ahead of brushing their teeth or answering nature’s call.
I cite these astonishing statistics to underscore a tendency in e-discovery to seek information in those places where we’ve grown comfortable despite compelling evidence that relevant information is elsewhere. I’ve written on this “Streetlight Effect” before (at p. 252 of this collection of articles), in the context of the blind eye long turned to shortcomings of keyword search. The latest manifestation is graver still, and will make for a perilous future if we do not rise to the challenge now.
I speak of the rapid accretion of unique, relevant data on mobile devices that has greatly outstripped our ability (or willingness) to preserve and process same. Look around you. Do you see the look down generation out there? Why do you suppose the person in front of you on the jetway is walking so #$%^& slowly?
Apple just sold ten million units of its latest iPhone. Ten million. In a week. How many of those purchasers sought a better device for making phone calls? Did Apple even hint it had improved the phone as a phone? No siree, Bob! Continue reading