AI Can Be Helpful for Alternative Dispute Resolution: Report
Wed, April 21, 2021

AI Can Be Helpful for Alternative Dispute Resolution: Report

Based on Moore’s Law proposed in 1965, AI could eventually reach a point where it can create limitless capacity for tasks, including problem-solving, by 2045. / Photo by: archy13 via Shutterstock


A recent report by Technavio showed that the global artificial intelligence platforms market size is projected to reach $6.95 billion by 2023 – a CAGR of over 28 percent. Among the major factors that will drive the market growth are the increasing convergence of AI with IoT and blockchain, the increasing interoperability among neural networks, and the rising adoption of AI-enabled chips. This goes to show the growing trust of many companies and industries in the technology. 

According to a 2017 report by the Small Arms Survey, an independent research project, it is possible for humans to trust and even love AI systems to depend on them for their well-being. The survey reported that more than 7 in 10 participants believe that people will grow to trust AI devices to the point that they could replace some human relationships, while 57 percent stated that they personally would trust it that much. 

By 2050, it is expected that more than 6 in 10 people will love AI as they would love a pet, while almost 5 in 10 said they themselves would grow to love AI like a pet by that point. At the same time, about 94 percent of the respondents expect their interactions with AI to become more natural. They believe that it is important that devices powered by AI can understand and communicate using natural human language.

Humans are not the only ones who are learning to trust AI. A report from Salesforce emphasized that businesses today are 9.5 times more likely to rate AI as "revolutionary" as opposed to "insignificant." However, consumers will only trust them when the enterprise explains how personal data improves their experience.

With the increasing trust in AI, there is no doubt that humans and industries will keep on relying on it over the next several years. However, are the advancements of AI and its growing opportunities enough reason to trust the technology to address and solve legal disputes?

Solving Legal Disputes Through AI

With ongoing research and applications of AI in various industries, experts discovered that AI could do more than just analyze data for patterns. AI has been used in the field of dispute resolution. In 2006, scientists from Stanford University developed Lex Machina, a data-mining computer aimed at predicting the progress of cases in the US. A 2017 project at Cambridge University reported that their AI system predicted the outcome of 775 financial ombudsman cases with 86.6 percent accuracy. The same task was performed by a panel of 100 experienced lawyers but they only achieved 66.3 percent.

These projects and their results show that AI can indeed have positive outcomes when it comes to solving legal disputes. Based on Moore’s Law proposed in 1965, AI could eventually reach a point where it can create limitless capacity for tasks, including problem-solving, by 2045. However, many experts question this. According to Kluwer Mediation Blog (KMB), a publication of Kluwer Law International providing information, news and updates on mediation around the globe, they are skeptical of how the technology can decide based on legalities while having a sense of fairness or human interaction and coaching. 

However, some have argued that since AI has increasingly become a part of our daily lives, there will come a time when people will be completely comfortable letting the algorithm adjudicate their case for them.

Marvin Huberman, president of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario, believes that AI can significantly contribute to resolving disputes. He thinks that the technology can be used at the beginning of a mediation process to answer questions about how the mediation process will unfold. At the same time, people may find it more comfortable to share details or information about their cases to AI compared to a person. “It may be better for some people to relay that information to a non-judgemental avatar or a robot or an artificial intelligence device,” Huberman said. 

Another problem that can be eradicated in courts through AI is bias. According to Law Times, a daily e-newsletter and website for news about Ontario's legal profession, machine learning can potentially “scrub away” the individual biases of judges. At the same time, disputes would be resolved more quickly than before. “It will really be through these technologies that we really address the serious issues that we have surrounding the access to justice and affordability,” Benjamin Alarie, co-founder and CEO of Blue J Legal, said. 

Will People Listen to AI?

Previously, a study entitled "Conflict Mediation in Human-Machine Teaming: Using a Virtual Agent to Support Mission Planning and Debriefing” showed that one-on-one human interactions with a virtual agent therapist yielded more confessions. However, researchers from the University of Southern California - Viterbi School Engineering and Institute for Creative Technologies discovered that some don’t actually listen to virtual agents, especially when conflict arises.

According to Science Daily, an American website that aggregates press releases about science, the researchers aimed to look at virtual agents as potential mediators in improving team collaboration during conflict mediation. They gave a three-person team a test to determine how they would cooperate with virtual agents. While all of them didn’t ignore the virtual agents, they observed that the longer the exercise progressed, their engagement with them decreased. 

Nonetheless, lead author Kerstin Haring believes that virtual agents and potentially social robots might be a good conflict mediator in all kinds of teams. 

Overall, AI has a great potential in resolving disputes, especially when we consider the number of cases unsolved and the existing bias in the courts. While there’s still a lot of room for improvement, there is no doubt that AI can go beyond just analyzing patterns and information.


One of the problems that can be eradicated in courts through AI is bias. / Photo by: zendograph via Shutterstock