Slap the Self Proclaimed Legal Technology Futurist!

Following my recent blog posts on ‘Legal Conferences and Artificial Intelligence‘ and ‘Hack the Past : How the Legal Profession knew nothing about Technology‘ I saw this tweet from Janders Dean and thought it very apt!

Reactions on LinkedIn:-

In addition to the comments in the comments section below there have been reactions to this post on LinkedIn. To keep these together with the post itself I have copied the comments here:-

Nir Golan: seriously don’t even know what that means. I see these titles all the times and just don’t get it. What makes one a futurist? What do they do?

Alex G Smith: Get paid to go to conferences and talk about something or other … usually not that far in the future because most don’t have much real creative imagination. I’ve seen some awful ones in the past 15 months, usually self-proclaimed and most actually don’t understand the tech itself having never built anything in true lives.

Nir Golan: Alex G Smith pretty crazy. Again a by-product of the hype..

Alex G Smith: Nir Golan yep …

Nir Golan: Alex G Smith thanks. My main concern with the hype is that down the line it will create negative bias for companies that create great products solving real problems that firms/companies/people really need. Same tech hype all over again. See the tech bubble..

Brian Inkster: Think the emphasis has to be on the “self proclaimed”. That fits in with Alex G Smith’s snake oil salesmen analogy. They are not the real deal but have found a latest bandwagon they can get onto in the hope of making some money from it. They often move from one bandwagon to the next – perhaps from being a web/SEO evangalist to being a social media guru and then an AI/blockchain expert (see the cartoon below of the evolving ‘expert’). They are not to be confused with the real deal i.e. a legal futurist (not a self proclaimed one) with an established body of work spanning a period of time who has been endorsed by many as being a known expert in their field. These real legal futurists are like the original importers of real snake oil into the USA from China before the copycats appeared with the fake oil. That is my view of what Janders Dean had in mind when they posted the original tweet that spawned the post by me. Justin North may let us know if he has a different take on it.

The Evolving Expert

Nir Golan: Brian Inkster thanks. Interesting.

Carolyn Elefant: I see this all the time – but they are apparently making money so how can you argue s with that. It’s entrepreneurship at its finest – figuring out what you want to do and finding a way to monetize it.

Alex G Smith: Carolyn Elefant people are starting to vote with their feet at least in the UK from the conferences so they better take the cash whilst it’s still there. Not really sustaining or building a collaborative ecosystem of innovation and creative networks.

Carolyn Elefant: Alex G Smith I agree. But maybe selfishness is what it takes to get rich.

Alex G Smith: good for them … others find pleasure and satisfaction in doing real things, building things that last, fixing long term problems or nudging the needle to actually change something. There are a lot of people at present who seem not to worry about impact and lining their pockets. I’m sure one day they could make it all the way to the top – futurist consultant to Trump? Good luck to them we need their taxes to pay for the real people that change things, esp within governments.

Brian Inkster: Those making the money Carolyn Elefant are perhaps the same as those original fake snake oil salesmen that Alex G Smith referred to. It will no doubt ever be thus: people will make money from such things without actually helping those that are paying them. The gullible will be taken in. As Alex G Smith says in the UK we are starting to vote with our feet. I certainly am and there are conferences I won’t be going to this year for this very reason.


Alex G Smith: I could run a Boolean search and be a futurist right now … please join “graph data-gate” on twitter now/today – we’re just blowing the doors (aka Michael Caine) off the van on core awesome free cool tech that already exists … and we could say is done and travel the world on conferences but actually we want to DO something …and iterate and measure… next year I may be considered a “leading light” of legal tech #crowdsource750

Similar Posts


  1. I would not. How can you or Janders Dean be certain their predictions are 100% wrong when they are talking about the future? I am no futurist, and I don’t agree with a lot of what futurists say and write, but I believe absolutely in their freedom to say whatever they want. As a professional writer , I regularly have my articles and opinions slapped down by some people and validated by others. I’m fine with a heated discussion, but I believe that we are all entitled to express our opinions without being slapped down by anyone.

    1. Fair point Joanna.

      Your comment was posted before all of the LinkedIn comments that have now been reproduced below the original post above.

      The analogy has been made there with the fake snake oil salesmen in the USA who were found out and slapped down for their fraudulent activities.

      Whilst everyone is entitled to their views and will often be contradicted (as happens to me from time to time on this blog) should we be calling out those who really don’t appear at all to know what they are speaking about but are styling themselves as an expert who should be held in high regard?

      I suppose challenging them on their views and seeing their response may do just that. I saw on Twitter recently that a self proclaimed legal technology futurist had blocked someone who questioned their opinion rather than engaging in debate with them. That spoke volumes about the ‘futurist’.

      The “heated discussion” you refer to should take place but if the self proclaimed legal technology futurist can’t stand the heat they just might get caught out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.