Online Dispute Resolution in Action

“Technology has forever changed the world we live in. We’re online, in one way or another, all day long. Our phones and computers have become reflections of our personalities, our interests, and our identities. They hold much that is important to us.” – James Comey

We live in a decentralized world where we meet online, we vote online, we shop online, we work online and we even sign contracts online. As the range of online activities grows, the number of disputes will grow as well. This begs the question, should technology facilitate resolving disputes online?

In order to answer this, we must understand the definition of Online Dispute Resolution (ODR). The American Arbitration Association defines ODR as a branch of dispute resolution which uses technology to facilitate the resolution of disputes between parties. It primarily involves negotiation, mediation and/or arbitration. However, ODR can also augment these traditional means of resolving disputes by applying innovative techniques and online technologies to the process.

Online disputes can arise from B2B, B2C, or C2C activities and can also be a cross border transaction. However, a centralized third party (such as a court) should be involved in order to resolve these conflicts. This brings up yet another question: Can technology replace a court to provide a center of trust?

Providing a Center of Trust

One of the most trending technologies for a while now is Blockchain, which eliminates the need for a third party and provides a center of Trust using a consensus mechanism. The most well-known application of this technology is the Crypto Currency or Digital money. There are other applications in different sectors and the maturity of this technology is disrupting how we can do business and it is one of the main ingredients that will transform ODR to real adoption along with semantic analysis and AI where Seal has a long list of innovation in both making itself the market leader in the Legal AI domain.

A good example of a Blockchain network is Ethereum which is an open-source distributed computing platform that allows you to write code that controls digital value, runs exactly as programmed, and is accessible anywhere in the world using transaction-based state transition consensus. Programs running on this network are called Smart contracts which allow the negotiation & performance of credible transactions without third parties. These transactions are trackable and irreversible.

Smart contract platforms such as Ethereum, NEO and Stellar have their benefits and are making the adoption of the Blockchain technology simpler. However smart contract platforms are just one blockchain with a single, shared network and have some technical limitations and challenges. These include the lack of security auditing of the smart contracts running on a platform as well as extensibility and performance.

Intelligent Contracts:

“AI will increasingly be applied to contracts that are encoded on a Blockchain so that organizations can use the Blockchain to access and analyze information, building intelligence that they can monetize”– Kevin Gidney

To effectively address the limitations of Smart Contracts, we need to encode much more information on the transaction blocks using a highly secure method, and the only real way to provide this currently is within a private blockchain solution.

In March 2017, Seal Software announced its partnership with Coin Sciences, the open-source Blockchain company, and the use of its MultiChain private Blockchain. With this addition to drive Seal’s Intelligent Contracts solution, Seal can automatically place contracts and their terms onto a sliding window, providing a virtual view of a contract’s state at any given point in time in a single view. By combining Seal’s machine learning framework with the MultiChain private Blockchain, a distributed and trusted single view of a contract’s terms and conditions can be shared, negotiated and managed securely between all the parties involved in a multiparty contract. For more information refer to this post.

Putting it All Together:

Seal Software is looking towards the future and paving the way for the legal industry to digitally transform. By covering complex use cases from contract negotiation to compliance, and maintaining technology partnerships to integrate with systems such as DocuSign and SAP Ariba, we continue to leverage the power of machine learning, Blockchain & Enterprise Analytics. We are putting all these pieces of the puzzle together so that real ODR adoption can take place.