Data Creation: Data Visualization

infographic CBA

It’s been said that “more data has been created in just the last two years than in the entire previous history of the human race, according to the Scandinavian research group SINTEF. ”

With the rise of literacy after the printing revolution and the emergence of the internet-based information society, more and more information is being created and retained in electronic format.

In lawsuits, “e-discovery [the exchange of information in electronic format] has become an uncontrollable burden”, as Justice Myers remarked in Saleh v Nebel, 2015 ONSC 3680

A way to alleviate this burden would be to transfer textual data into visual data.  Humans decipher images far faster than interpreting texts, about 60,000 times faster. Steven Pinker, a linguist, states that humans think in images. That is why phrases that conjure up concrete images are far more memorable than abstract sayings. For example: “if the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit”.

Visuals are so compelling that judges sometimes exclude photographs or videos as evidence in a trial “so as not to inflame the minds of the jurors” (Law of Evidence – Paciocco and Stuesser). After all, an image really is worth a thousand words.

As lawyers, we are inundated with documents and unfortunately mostly poorly written ones at that. I personally would welcome any tool that transforms huge amounts of text into images.