You’d never write a blank check to a house painter to paint your house. So why hand one to a lawyer? Good question.
Once there was a time when a doctor sat at a patient’s bedside, able to provide more comfort than cure. Today, it’s all about the cure, and the patient sometimes seems to be forgotten. As we commit to require Electronic Health Records for all, we need to be sure that the patient doesn’t disappear forever into the digitized data
If the concept of “one citizen, one vote” is such an irrefutable, inalienable standard of human rights, why do we fight so hard against it?
Standards are the bullies of the design world, always telling every other part of a plan what it has to do. But everyone has a boss, and even standards sometimes have to kowtow to an Alpha Standard.
It is a truism of American life that you only get one chance to Have it All. Steve Jobs’ first chance at dominating a computer platform died at the hands of Bill Gates in the early 1980s, in large part because Gates was willing to license his technology to clone makers while Jobs was not. Now comes Apple’s wildly popular iPhone: will Steve Jobs enjoy a second act with this new platform even more successful than the first — or only a replay, and for the same reasons?
Google is launching a beta test of yet another free service, this time in competition with one of the great successes of the Web to date — the global, grassroots community effort known as the Wikipedia. The Google “Knol” effort may fail utterly — or may provide a test bed where a variety of interesting new experiments in knowledge aggregation can be launched and tested.
The criminal justice system in the United States guarantees the defendant the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty — an honorable standard for a society to uphold, to be sure. The problem is that life is rarely so black and white, and the victim is the integrity of the system.
The designers of virtual worlds have the freedom to specify whatever rules they wish for their creations, whereas our physical world must obey real, inviolable laws that have logical explanations. Right? Now let’s see, what exactly did I do with all that Dark Matter, anyway?
Natural resources are part of our common heritage, but most are owned by private parties. How should we resolve the specific legal rights granted to private owners with communal heritage rights that are more felt than legally protected?
The number of things in the world that need to be managed is seemingly infinite. But before you can manage something, you need to be able to measure it. Words and numbers – and sometimes even boxes of crayons – can provide the standards needed to do what needs to be done.