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MCD Sports & Legal
Weekly News Round Up #2

31 January 2016

· Technology,Legal Tech,Golf
1. Tech: Google Glass disappears

Quite a few outlets picked up on the fact that google has shut down all of the social media accounts for Google Glass.  It’s a surprising step, even if it has been relatively obvious that the consumer-facing Google Glass product has not developed or gained popularity as originally anticipated.  Mashable points out that Google will continue to focus on business applications for Glass (there is still a “Glass at Work” site https://developers.google.com/glass/distribute/glass-at-work) and then look to relaunch Glass for consumers in the future.   Clearly, as the article intimates, glasses (in the general sense) form part of the wearables’ story.  We have smart watches, fitness and health trackers and even ear buds (http://www.getdubs.com), so  glasses will inevitably become more mainstream once a developer gets the product right.

2. Robots to replace lawyers?
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financetopics/davos/12111138/Davos-Doctors-and-lawyers-could-be-replaced-by-robots.html
Before you get too excited about the above headline proving true in the future, let's put it in context. A recent study by Deloitte and the University of Oxford suggests only a 3% chance of solicitors becoming automated.  The BBC has a great little calculator based on the study where you just punch in your job title and prepare yourself for the forthcoming march of the droids (particularly if you work in telesales or as a legal typist) http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-34066941. 
However, automation and AI is already playing a role in the legal profession, from the very simple automation of form filling and completion of template contracts to complex e-discovery.  Despite being a lawyer, I am all for it.  The more simple tasks can be automated, the more a lawyer can focus on actually applying themselves to getting the right results for clients.  Clients win too, through less human error and lower bills (at least in theory!).
Here's a great example of automation in practice.  A brilliant teenager has designed an automated system for simple legal claims in the UK. While it might have a long way to go before the general public might trust this in practice, it shows the potential of this area.   Best of part of this is the robot actually has a better sense of empathy/humor than many a lawyer...
3. Shorts in golf, whatever next...
http://www.europeantour.com/europeantour/season=2016/tournamentid=2016004/news/newsid=282943.html#ugLKPXMuGRhSLT0Q.97 
In news which will come as bizarre to those not familiar with the antiquated dress codes of golf, the PGA European Tour announced at last week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship that its players would be entitled to wear shorts.  But only in pro-ams and practice days mind, not during tournaments...
For those of us who know golf, this is actually quite a big step.  Not so long ago, particularly in the UK, it was very rare to see any guys wearing shorts on the course (n.b. as far as I know there has never been any similar trouser-length rule for females), and if they did, they were often required to pair them with long-socks (we are talking knee-length), so as to minimize leg exposure I presume.  In actual fact, as recently as 2/3 years ago I received a reprimand at my former club for wearing ankle socks...
So, the European Tour actually deserves praise for taking the lead on this, and it is hoped that others will follow suit and eventually the daft sight of guys playing high pressure tournament golf in 30 degree heat while wearing a smart pair of flannels will be a thing of the past .  Its supposed to be a sport remember - we are even in the Olympics now...
Final word on this goes to the R&A, who advised that they may consider shorts at The Open in 2017 but commented that...“It would certainly be a pleasant dilemma to have if the weather here in mid-July is sufficiently warm for shorts to be desirable.”
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