This article identifies cost efficiencies that technology can bring to dispute resolution processes and also suggest how potential costs can be minimized or avoided. The article begins by examining the Technology Revolution. The emergence of technology mediated dispute resolution (TMDR) as an efficient and cost-effective means of resolving disputes illustrates the significant impact the Technology Revolution has had in the area of ADR. This article suggests why TMDR has not been embraced more enthusiastically. It then explores how we can use technology to make dispute resolution more effective and efficient and explains why, in light of a rapidly maturing technology savvy generation, we might have little choice but to embrace TMDR.
The article next discusses Cybersettle and Smartsettle, two of the established TMDR programs available today. The following section provides additional reasons why the use of TMDR will increase, including the assertion that foreign nations’ decisions to expand TMDR will compel the United States to rely more heavily on TMDR. The article then examines the challenges raised by TMDR. These challenges include power imbalances; the possibility that TMDR software and platforms may exercise greater influence over the dispute resolution process than expected; and questions as to how we can involve artificial intelligence devices, robots, and avatars in our dispute resolution processes. Ideas for integrating artificial intelligence devices into TMDR processes are based upon the manner in which these devices already are being used in the health care industry. The article concludes by examining the dangers and financial costs of relying on avatars and robots, identifies sectors well positioned to use TMDR, and briefly raises the issue of whether we need to regulate TMDR.