Last month, Amazon Alexa got a new skill - “My Mediator”. Currently only available in California, Amazon Alexa will now answer questions on how to resolve options available for resolving certain consumer disputes in areas such as Real Estate, Probate and Partnerships.
It’s not quite a robot mediator but technology is undeniably having an enormous impact on mediation and dispute resolution. Here are a selection of areas where technology is helping to bring mediation into the 21st century.
An e-justice revolution is underway in many parts of the world.
Turkey, for example, has transformed their court system so that everything is supported electronically. Lawyers and parties can view and submit files online, pay fees electronically and file cases in any court in the country without leaving the computer. Other jurisdictions, such as a the US and Australia are leading the way with similar initiatives.
In some cases, this digitisation has gone beyond simple filing and administrative improvements and is being used to promote alternative dispute resolution. For example, British Columbia's Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) introduced in 2016 uses a pioneering system which first requires the parties to attempt negotiation before going to adjudication, for certain types of dispute.
Initiatives such as this are creating massive opportunities for mediators to resolve disputes online, from the comfort of their own home. Listen to Shannon Salter, Chair of the CRT, discuss how developments in online dispute resolution are creating opportunities for mediators:
Consumers Dispute Resolution
Another major area where technology is having an impact is in the world of Consumer Dispute Resolution.
This is great for consumers but also great for businesses, who benefit massively from the improved trust in the brand resulting from having quick and painless consumer dispute resolution systems.
This is also a point of focus for governments and regulation. Legislation such as the EU ODR Regulation and ADR Directive are helping to support these initiatives and expedite the process of bringing consumer dispute resolution online.
Online Education and Training
A final point of focus for technology and mediation is in the areas of education and training.
Thanks to technology, it's never been easier to access world class mediation education and training. For example, Virtual Mediation Lab is now there to help mediators learn online mediation and to practice their skills through virtual role play.
It would be remiss not to point out Mediator Academy's own resources for mediators with hundreds of videos with inspiring and accompished mediators and a range of CPD courses accessible online.
Clearly, technology is changing the face of dispute resolution and it is important to keep abreast of these innovations. While technology may pose challenges to incumbents, it is also creating a world of opportunity for those willing to adapt and learn.
If you're interest in learning more about opportunities for mediators in online dispute resolution, or are just interested in the amazing ways in which technology is helping to resolve conflict, click the big green button below.