[ This article was an April Fool’s Special. ]
A sudden drop in the amount of 1s and 0s across the world is expected to hit the legal tech sector after rationing was introduced late last night following a major fault in the transatlantic digital cable.
Late on Wednesday the Atlantic Digital Generator (ADG) system, which sits on the seabed and produces the trillions of 1s and 0s that are essential for our computers to operate, experienced a massive failure. Governments in North America, and in the UK and Europe have therefore enacted emergency plans to ration the 1s and 0s that are remaining.
Hospitals, the police and fire brgidage, and other essential services, will be granted the bulk of what is left, but other industries, such as legal tech and more broadly the legal sector, will face rationing at least until the ADG is operational again.
Repairing the ADG is no easy task. It is at a depth in some places of over 8,000m, and although emergency ships with mini-subs have already been dispatched, repairing the cable will take time.
The ADG is primarily a giant copper cable, through which an alternating current is passed, under the pressure of the salty water at that depth, ionic reactions take place and 1s and 0s are produced. These are then collected by a counter cable that runs parallel to it, also made of copper, which sends the 1s and 0s to Newfoundland on the North American side, and Galway on the European side. From there, the essential binary digits which power every computerised tool on the planet are distributed to multiple countries.
There is of course still the great Pacific Digital Generator, and that is operating normally, so most of the Asia-Pacific region should be well supplied. But, much of the US, and the UK and European legal tech sectors could face significant disruption.
Artificial Lawyer spoke to Avril Turing, Chair of the Global Legal Tech Committee, about the dire situation.
‘We never expected anything like this would ever happen,’ she explained using an analogue-based landline telephone. ‘The whole world has become so used to just waking up in the morning and turning on their computers, or their smart phones, and it all just working. It’s been a massive shock.’
‘As to why several governments have put legal tech and legal services in general on the rationing list is an issue of serious concern for us. We appreciate that the police and other emergency services need to have priority, but the legal sector is the backbone of any functioning society and we need to get lawyers and the legal tech companies that serve them back to normal as soon as possible.’
‘After all, this will mean no Word documents, no email, no DMSs or CLMs, no NLP analysis tools, no legal research systems, in short nothing that we all rely on today. I have no idea how we will function as an industry. I guess we will have to just write stuff down on paper and send it through the post.’
Artificial Lawyer asked if some law firms still had analogue fax machines and mechanical typewriters in storage that lawyers could rely upon? Unfortunately the answer for most is: no. While some firms may have a few old fax machines sitting in the basement gathering dust, the majority threw such tools away many years ago. Moreover, there are few people left at firms who still remember how a fax machine works. Plus, not many would have any fax paper, nor would most businesses they might be sending faxes to have a fax machine to receive such antiquated communications. So, pen and paper is going to be the solution in the very short-term.
As to when the crisis will come to an end, the most recent statement – sent via a telegram – from the World Digital Production Council states that 1s and 0s may not be flowing freely again until at least Tuesday, April 6.
1s and 0s willing, this site will try to keep everyone updated.
Hope you enjoyed that! Happy April Fool’s Day!
P.S. Because of the Easter holidays, Artificial Lawyer will return to normal publication on Tuesday, April 6.
Have a great Easter break!