What Is An Arbitration? Artificial Intelligence And The Vanishing Human Arbitrator

New York University Journal of Law & Business

26.01.2021

Abstract: Technological developments, especially digitization, artificial intelligence (AI), and blockchain technology, are currently disrupting the traditional format and conduct of arbitrations. Stakeholders in the arbitration market are exploring how new technologies and tools can be deployed to increase the efficiency and quality of the arbitration process. The COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating this trend. In this article, we analyze the “Anatomy of an Arbitration.” We argue that, functionally, fully AI-powered arbitrations will be technically feasible and should be legally permissible at some point in the future. There is nothing in the concept of arbitration that requires human control, governance, or even input. We further argue that the existing legal framework for international commercial arbitrations, the “New York Convention” (NYC) in particular, is capable of adapting to and accommodating fully AI-powered arbitrations. We anticipate significant regulatory competition between jurisdictions to promote technology-assisted or even fully AIpowered arbitrations, and we argue that this competition will be beneficial. We expect that common law jurisdictions will enjoy an advantage in this competition: machine learning applications for legal decision-making can be developed more easily for jurisdictions in which case law plays a pivotal role.

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