The Challenge of Algocracy in Arbitral Decision-Making - WAMR 2018 - Vol. 12, No. 2
Sophie Nappert is a dual-qualified lawyer in Canada and in the UK. Since 2007 she has been an arbitrator in independent practice, based in London. She was Head of International Arbitration at a global law firm, is trained and has practised in both civil law and common law jurisdictions, and is the peer-nominated Moderator of OGEMID, the online discussion forum on current issues of international investment law, economic law and arbitration. She is ranked in Global Arbitration Review’s Top 30 List of Female Arbitrators Worldwide and is commended as a “leading light” in the field by Who’s Who Legal.
The typical lawyer’s office in the twenty-first century is an office on the go. Today’s lawyers communicate via e-mail; we no longer receive Post-Its from personal assistants saying, “while you were out, Mr. Jones called,” because Mr. Jones texted us on our mobile; and we participate in video conferences and hearings.
This state of affairs, however, has not entirely translated to arbitration proceedings, which currently look exactly like they did fifty years ago: everyone shows up in one place at an appointed time, for in-person hearings before a panel reading hard-copy documents from A5 bundles and annotating them with Post-It Notes and by hand.
In several aspects, this scenario is obsolete. Some examples are set out below. Are parts of it worth fighting to preserve, faced with the ineluctable advance of Artificial Intelligence (“AI”), not only in the field of predictive analysis, but also that of prescriptive analysis? That is the more difficult question, and the topic of this talk.
Is there anything about the current arbitration model that is worth preserving in order to safeguard the integrity of the arbitral process in the face of artificial intelligence? If so,
what is it?
In other words, does the integrity of arbitration as a dispute resolution process hinge on human characteristics, however fallible? And is that what users want from the process?
In this talk, I seek to probe your thoughts about how the human mind, and its decision-making capacities, can work hand in hand with AI, drawing upon the considerable potential offered by technology to make the arbitration process more streamlined, more efficient, more modern and attuned to twenty-first century business; in a word, better.