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That was my key message to 250 delegates at Lawfest in Auckland last week.
It was terrific to see so much interest in the impact of technology on the delivery of legal services and to hear a variety of speakers sharing their views on how to to adapt & thrive in a changing market. While the focus of Lawfest is on innovation and technology, my message was simple: we must not make technology our God; people first, digital second!
The sad story of Ernest Quintana, reported by the world media a couple of weeks ago, illustrated my point. Mr Quintana, a 78 year old patient in a Californian hospital, was told he was about to die by a doctor using a robot with a video-link screen. Sadly, he died the next day.
In a statement of apology, the senior vice-president of the hospital said: ‘we don’t support or encourage the use of technology to replace the personal interactions between our patients and their care teams.’
People first, digital second.
Recent research confirms that human interaction matters, – especially to those that matter most to you in your business, – your clients and to your people.
Finally, I shared this quote that seemed to capture both the theme of my talk and the mood in the conference room:
“Bread is like humanity itself. We come in different shapes and sizes, colours and guises, yet underneath the skin and crust we’re all made of the same stuff. The trick of achieving happiness and harmony is surely to celebrate both our similarities and differences with equal vigour.” -Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall