Jules Verne, Gene Rodenberry, and George Lucas imagined cities of the future, but they will not live there. Neither will most lawyers. That's because it will be at least a generation before anybody can take flying cars to work and vacations in space. For now, lawyers will be lucky if they get in on the ground floor of the next big thing.
But it's fun to think about practicing law in a future city -- as long as the robots don't take over first.
Zach Winkler, co-founder of Noonlight, has a vision. He's no science-fiction writer; he has a grasp of practical realities. He talks about city services, like public safety. "The intersection of safety and sustainability is currently driving the development of smart cities," he told Forbes.
So the future will be about transportation, buildings, sidewalks, and lights. Ho hum. (It's no Naboo, but at least future cities will be internet-connected and artificially intelligent.) The good news is, smart homes, offices, and appliances are already pushing the envelope. You don't need a permit to live in your own virtual world. Who is going to stop you from talking to your car or your toaster? The bad news is, you will be on the Internet-of-Things grid. Sidewalk Labs, for example, wants to turn a city block into a giant data collection machine.
A Learning Machine World?
In this city of the future, it could be like The Matrix. You could be a source of energy for a world governed by smart machines. Unfortunately, there is a dark web and a potentially dark and dreary future. H.G. Wells, Stephen King, and the Emperor have foreseen it. Hackers know how to use AI at least as well as cyber security experts. Future cities could be controlled by large, soul-less corporations. Dogs and cats living together. Mass hysteria.
So maybe lawyers will have a place in the future.