A Negotiation Innovation: An AI negotiation assistant

By : Tati Nium

In the article, “A Negotiation Innovation: An intelligent negotiation assistant”, the authors’ introduce a new, modern technology in development which involves “ data processing, advanced search engines, artificial intelligence and natural language interface” to deliver mediators a digital negotiation assistant. This technology will provide mediators a “negotiation index” which is a “universally accessible reference of negotiation techniques and situations which classifies empirical evidence that may be effective in given situations.”

The authors’ argue it is impossible to memorize and understand the mass amount of sophisticated negotiation information available because of its abundance, the theories and techniques are constantly evolving, and occasionally the theories are contradicting. For this reason, utilizing a digital negotiation assistant would be beneficial because negotiators and mediators would receive an instant response to complex verbal or written questions by a voice-activated digital assistant. The digital negotiation assistant is able to “analyze, contextualize, and interpret” complex questions because it’s equipped with artificial intelligence and machine learning. The advancements this technology could achieve would greatly enhance several negotiation sectors including business/commercial, financial, construction, multilateral/diplomacy, military, crisis, sports, labor, family, investor-State, environmental, urban conflict, organizational/ombudsman, aviation, peacekeeping, and many more.

The authors’ explain, however, for this technology to manifest it must be funded heavily in order to conduct field research, lab simulations, and compile relevant data effectively. Yet, investors and venture capital firms are reluctant to fund the project unless the return on their investment Is considerable. The Harvard Program on Negotiation (PoN) had recently disclosed a project still in progress named the Negotiation Data Repository (NDR), and they invite researchers, scholars, and practitioners to upload any pertinent data which may be valuable for negotiation and conflict resolution research. Also, the University of Sherbrooke and Vlerick’s Business School had formed a non-profit initiative in Canada named the ‘Institute for Negotiation Innovation’, and had also applied for a five-year, 2.5 million partnership grant with Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. The authors’ also claim in order for the digital negotiation assistant to become publicly available, the user access charges would have to be affordable.

In the article, the authors’ detailed various compelling points regarding the development of the intelligent negotiation assistant technology. The authors’ claim this new enhancement for negotiation and conflict resolution would greatly benefit practitioners, negotiators, and mediators. I agree; the advancement of having an artificially intelligent resource for all negotiating circumstances would substantively impact the future of negotiation entirely.

A likely result of this revolutionary technology would be the elimination of human intervention in negotiation and mediation disputes altogether, and, instead, all negotiation would occur digitally through the analysis of the artificial intelligence within the negotiation assistant. Also, the authors’ stated the digital assistant would become publicly available with affordable user access charges. If that is true, than virtually all practitioners would likely be utilizing the same negotiation assistant. This would lead the AI to constantly evolve after each negotiation stipulation is inputted, and eventually the AI will be able to generate the best resolution to any given negotiation. The result might be a situation in which the disputing parties would entrust the negotiation assistant to determine the most favorable decision for all mediation matters.

In the meantime, this technology is still in development and lacks the funding needed to expand research resources. The authors’ point out how financiers are unlikely to invest in development and maintenance for this project because they need to be certain the return on their investment is substantial. In my opinion, this technology is revolutionary and would be an extraordinary resource for many practitioners, but this project will require a considerable amount of time and resources without any definite financial gain. There would have to be an extensive amount of research conducted, lab simulations, and other developmental processes which would likely take many years to conclude. Also, a significant amount of funds will be needed to effectively accomplish the desired result. So, if the user access charges are low and affordable for public usage, than the return on investment doesn’t seem promising. This reason may be the primary cause for delay in developments for the intelligent negotiation assistant.

The authors do mention an application filed by the University of Sherbrooke and Vlerick’s Business School requesting Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council to grant them a partnership grant to fulfil the ambition for the intelligent negotiation assistant. It seems highly unlikely investors and financiers will partake in investing the project, but, hopefully, the research council will be motivated to see the innovative technology unfold rather than the profit it could produce.

The authors’ of the article are clearly advocating and in support for the development of the intelligent negotiation assistant; they claim even the most educated and experienced practitioners can not memorize or have knowledge of all negotiation techniques and theories at any given moment. Therefore, the necessity of this technology it to make the negotiation process straightforward, effortless, and instant. I am also intrigued in this technology and the future changes it will impose in negotiation sectors. The authors’ are correct in the sense the negotiation assistant will deliver beneficial results for many, but I am skeptical in the long-term effects to be determined. Would this technology replace jobs or develop an entirely new industry? Will the future of negotiation be entirely digital and exclusively conducted by the AI assistant? The authors’ provided an idealistic introduction of the intelligent negotiation assistant to gain support for the project, but many questions are still left open. Regardless, this technology is revolutionary and should be sought for research and curiosity.

Article Source :

Fraser, Veronique, et al. “A Negotiation Innovation: An Intelligent Negotiation Assistant.” Mediate.com — Find Mediators — World’s Leading Mediation Information Site, Resourceful Internet Solutions, Inc., 2021, www.mediate.com/articles/leathes-innovation.cfm.