Now You See Me, Now You Don’t

Christian Dirschl
Written by Christian Dirschl
on January 13, 2014

Through his latest post, my colleague John Barker accelerated a discussion about technology and tools like Google Glass, which could augment the professional reality of our customers in a very radical way. People following our blog will remember that quite a few articles illuminate areas beyond textual information like the usage of visualization techniques. In this post, I would like go even a step further (or two).

The current line of discussion is mainly driven by the fact that customers need relevant information wherever they are. In that sense, Google Glass is just another extension of the mobile devices trend we have already been facing for a while. And again, like in data visualization mentioned above, we focus on one and only one of our five senses: Sight. Why? What about the rest?

I remember from my cognitive science studies at university that at least 85% of the input we process comes through our eyes; so their importance can’t be neglected. Still, as you may be aware of from my last post, I am currently diving into criminal law, and in this area senses like smell, touch and of course audition play a critical role as well. In addition, learning new facts by using multiple input channels simultaneously is much more effective than by using sight or audition alone.

At the end of this month, I will attend an international conference in Zürich on Multisensory Law! I would expect that the title of a talk called “What is the Smell of Law?” is meant to be a provocation; still it confuses my mindset – which is actually a good thing.

I like to challenge people and I like to be challenged and I am really looking forward to intense discussions with people working in a world which is completely new for me.

I am not a lawyer and my whole life I have only been inside a court once (as a witness, not as a defendant!), but I could imagine that there are much more important things happening than legal publishers can cover with their books and journals. Why not touch (sic!) these aspects as well in the future?

BTW, I came across the headline of this article for the first time some thirty years ago, when I memorized the lyrics of Iron Maiden’sThe Number of the Beast” album, where an Orwell-like song called “The Prisoner” had its impact on my rather young mind. Actually, the song starts with “We want information!!” – Scary, isn’t it?

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There have been made comments on this article

  1. Christian on at

    I just received a reference to an interesting publication from the organizer of the conference. Here is the link:

    Colette R. Brunschwig,
    Law Is Not or Must Not Be Just Verbal and Visual in the 21st Century: Toward Multisensory Law

  2. Christian on at

    The talk “What is the smell of Law?” was removed from the program on a short term notice, because the author could not make it to the conference venue; but the respective paper will be made available.

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