Is Arbitration Necessarily a Human Activity? - Technological Disruption & The Role of Robots In Arbitration.

Varsha Banta

The full chapter may be found by clicking on the PDF link to the left.

The present paper is an endeavour into understanding technological disruption in the field of arbitration. In a dynamic world where individuals and businesses constantly outsource their tasks to external agencies for benefits of greater expertise or reduced costs, this paper argues that this inclination towards outsourcing is permeating the legal services industry as well. The only difference is, here, this external agency, Artificial Intelligence (“AI”), threatens the place of humans in the legal sphere, most notably within the field of arbitration law. More specifically, the discussion unfolds into increased reliance on predictive justice tools to grant awards, and the challenges such reliance poses in terms of efficiency, confidentiality and control of proceedings. This paper is a relevant inquiry as it creates a space to stop and take heed of the rapid technological reforms the world is undergoing today. It takes a balanced view of the changes and the benefits they bring, but advocates for a traditional, humane approach to arbitration, with a view to continually uphold principles of equity and fairness. It is an attempt to remind oneself of the value of the human legal consciousness, and the perils of over-mechanization of legal services. Although present literature discusses the viability of robots as arbitrators, it does not offer a definitive stance. An attempt to offer such a stance has been made in this paper.