As we approach the end of one year and the beginning of the next, thought leaders have begun offering predictions for 2020. Research company Gartner is getting an early start on the year-end action with its recent predictions about the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020. While some of these new technologies may not have a great impact on the ediscovery world, others pose interesting questions.

Gartner emphasized that its list was “structured around the idea of ‘people-centric smart spaces.’” What will these data-rich places mean for litigation? Will they generate useful information, or just add to the noise of daily life? How will companies manage the vast data stores that smart spaces will create?

According to Gartner, human augmentation, “the use of technology to enhance a person’s cognitive and physical experiences,” is one of the top trends to watch. While this isn’t such a stretch—cochlear implants and smart glasses are current technologies—wearable devices that can record data internally or export it to a cloud device could raise serious issues for ediscovery. Where will that data reside? Will it be immediately overwritten or will it be stored, and for how long? Who will be able to access it? Will it be exportable and reviewable? Then there are the privacy implications of reviewing data from a worn device; how the legal industry will overcome or circumvent those concerns remains to be seen.

Gartner also predicts a rise in autonomous devices such as drones, robots, and appliances that are able (thanks to artificial intelligence) to make decisions on their own. How will those decisions be interpreted or understood? Who will be legally responsible for an autonomous device’s decisions? Will there be any audit trail to trace how those decisions are reached? Where will all that data be stored?

Historically speaking, as new technologies have become more commonplace, the ediscovery industry has grown more adept at incorporating the new data they create into litigation workflows and data management tools. Therefore, expect to see a compression in the timeline from new tech idea to implementation, and then to common business use and integration into standard discovery. That means individual businesses will have to adapt more quickly to new data types, instead of hanging back and waiting for tech-savvy groundbreakers to pave the way.

Check out the full list of Gartner’s predictions here, and drop us a line to let us know what you think will pose the biggest issues for ediscovery professionals in 2020 and beyond.

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