24 February 2014

The NFL Represents The Future of Our Legal System: Reviewing Life's Events Through Instant Replay

The NFL might offer a view into the future of our legal systems and baseball a look into our past.

The NFL has instant replay available for officials. Plays filmed from every angle allow officials to huddle below a hood that looks like a 150 year old camera, and emerge with confirmation of the call on the field or fresh evidence that it was wrong. Nobody argues. They just challenge and then the officials closely scrutinize the play with the benefit of multiple camera angles and slow motion replay.

Baseball still deals with contested calls  the old fashioned way. The manager goes out and hollers at the ump, intent on changing the call. Either this year or next, though, baseball is going to abandon this tradition of proof through persuasion and passion and adopt the NFL's review of the play approach.

Today, our courts resort to the tactics of baseball. You hire someone you hope is sufficiently persuasive and passionate to cause the jury to reverse the call made by the prosecution. If it works, you take your base. I mean, you walk.

Meanwhile, more and more of our lives are being recorded. It's not hard to imagine a civil suit being settled by review of the video. "Yes. Here you clearly assure my client that if there is a delay of more than a month you'll refund him the full amount." Or, "You can see that at this moment, with a look of pure rage, the suspect intentionally - and not accidentally - pushed him over the balcony."

Intel is already making small chips that are designed for wearable devices that could record image, sound, even heart rate and perspiration as indications of stress levels. It's perfectly conceivable that our lives will be recorded on the cloud, accessible by legal request in the event of civil or criminal charges.

It seems perfectly plausible that surveillance nation will lead to instant replay legal proceedings. Of course before that could happen, I'm sure that we'd hear a great deal of passionate and persuasive protests from litigators who do such a great job of persuading juries.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And instead of crooked lawyers, we'll hire crooked photoshoppers.