Mediation - Dispute Resolution Journal - Vol. 56, No. 1
Dr. Luis Miguel Diaz is the Mexican Director of the U.S.-Mexico Conflict Resolution Center in Las Cruces, New Mexico. He has academic and diplomatic experience in international law and in the use of negotiation and mediation. He served in Mexico’s delegation to the United Nations and as NAFTA negotiator, as well as in several foreign relations positions in the Mexican government.
Originally from Dispute Resolution Journal
Given the mind-boggling advances in high technology, is it possible that someday a smart software program would replace mediators? Is it likely that in the future parties would turn to their computers instead of to neutrals or courts to settle their disputes? This article is satirically speculative fiction, but Diaz presents a thought-provoking picture of what is possible (or impossible, for that matter) in the field of conflict resolution 50 years down the road.
Although inconceivable just a few years ago, mediation software that promises to monopolize the interpersonal conflict resolution market is now imminent. Tomorrow, the Artificial Intuition™ Corporation (commonly known as AInc.) will debut its new product, AICompanion2050 (AICom), just one day after the last existing civil court closes its doors.
Ethical principles and values guided all stages in the development of the new software that uses techniques perfected in the last century’s successful work in artificial intelligence. In this wholly new endeavor, a software program has been created that models the processes of human intuition. AICom is based on Artificial Intuition™, a revolutionary technology now made accessible and affordable to everyone. There is great anticipation that this product may fill the gap left by the demise of the much-reviled civil court system.
End of Civil Courts
While for years, critics decried the decline of the civil courts (with jurisdiction over the enforcement, redress, or protection of private rights and remedies sought by civil action, as contrasted with criminal proceedings), it was only at the turn of the millennium that businesses, governments, and individuals came together to seriously question the viability of the courts as the institution for resolving civil disputes. The death blow finally came with the famous antitrust case against AInc. Although the litigation began in the final years of the 1990s, the Supreme Court issued its final ruling only two years ago, a mere half-century after the case was filed.
Some speculate that the High Court’s delay was due to their prophetic realization that it could put the civil judiciary out of business. Its judgment, in any case, proved to be the worst possible decision.
The Supreme Court’s ruling caused chaos on world stock exchanges, millions lost their savings and their jobs, and the global network of small businesses went into shock. Those lawyers holding the few remaining appointments in the civil judiciary resigned as an act of apology to all individuals and communities affected, a gesture that earned them appreciation.