Online Dispute Resolution: Click Here to Settle Your Dispute - Dispute Resolution Journal - Vol. 56, No. 4
William K. Slate II is the president and chief executive officer of the American Arbitration Association.
Originally from Dispute Resolution Journal
The advent of the Internet was bound to change our lives—the way we gather information, communicate with each other, do business, entertain ourselves, and even shop for goods. In his address to this year’s conference of the International Federation of Commercial Arbitration Institutions (IFCAI), AAA President William K. Slate II focused on the role of online dispute resolution in the burgeoning field of e-commerce. Slate discussed the results of an AAA survey on e-commerce and predicted that with the rapid growth of e-commerce will come steady increase in the use of online dispute resolution. The following article is based on Slate’s remarks at the IFCAI conference held in Prague, Czech Republic.
The focus of this article is online dispute prevention and resolution in e-commerce. But before looking discretely at arbitration and the world of technology, I think it important to first step back and see “technology” as a great deal more than just a tool or modern gadget, but as the larger force that is driving the new globalization system—where the world has become increasingly an interwoven place.
This globalization system is characterized by a single word: the Web! In the words of Thomas Friedman, the author of a compelling book on this subject entitled The Lexus and the Olive Tree, “…in the globalization system we reach for the Internet, which is a symbol that we are all increasingly connected and nobody is quite in charge.”
So what then is the essence of globalization driven by technology? James Surowicki, a business columnist, has said: “It is the notion that innovation replaces tradition. The present—or perhaps the future—replaces the past. Nothing matters so much as what will come next, and what will come next can only arrive if what is here now gets overturned!”
While this makes the globalization system a terrific place for innovation, it clearly makes it a difficult place to live, since most people prefer some measure of security about the future, as compared to a life lived in almost constant uncertainty.
So, you may well ask, does this globalized economy driven by ever newer and newer technologies have implications, indeed impacts on arbitral institutions and dispute resolution processes? And, the answer is of course—yes—and very much so!