I am not a Robot

By Brad Davenport

How ironic that with the advance of technology we are now often asked to type in a short series of letters and symbols to verify that we are not robots in order to access our online accounts or other presumptively secure information. I suppose this should not be too surprising in an age of bot attacks, hackers infiltrating and holding government and business computer networks “hostage”, drones in the air, and now driverless vehicles on the road. While one blog post cannot address the many complex issues raised by such technological advances, it can provide a brief humorous glimpse as to how new technology impacts those of us in the legal field.

While lawyers have yet to be replaced by an app on your smartphone or a hologram in a “virtual” courtroom, we do face changes, challenges and uncertainties presented by changes in technology like everyone else. These changes in technology can also be a source of humor on occasion. For example, we are all familiar with wind turbines and “wind farms” now, but can you envision the look on the lawyer’s face just a few years ago the first time a client called and wanted a lease drawn up for their wind. More recently, lawyers have been faced with questions and/or problems with clients concerning drones. A client may simply want to know if you have to be licensed to fly a drone, or whether it is legal for law enforcement to fly a drone over and video them or their property without a warrant. Then, there was the case of the “Drone Slayer” that made the news in 2015, where a man in Kentucky shot down a drown flying over his property. The drone owner filed a law suit for destruction of property and sought damages for the cost to repair or replace the drone, and the shooter countered with a trespass claim against the drone owner. The judge ultimately dismissed the case against the “Drone Slayer”, t-shirts were sold, and legal questions still persist as to how the law should address these and other questions presented by people flying drones.

One can only imagine what is to come with driverless vehicles. There will undoubtedly be glitches with these computer-driven vehicles presenting legal challenges and requiring changes in the law to address responsibility for such things as property damage and personal injury caused by these vehicles. Oh, but just think of the possibilities for new commercials from personal injury lawyers! Driverless cars will be flying through the air and landing in swimming pools! Rogue, talking cars will falsely imprison their passengers and cause untold emotional distress by taking them on hair-raising rides across the City. But the legal system will persevere. New laws will be passed; clever arguments will be crafted; and, of course, lawyers will be standing by to answer all of your questions…just as soon as you enter the following combination of letters and characters to prove that you are not a robot.

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