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November 30, 2023

Message from the Committee Chairs

Mission: To provide a common venue for those interested in public policy, consensus building, and democracy as they relate to dispute resolution.

Dear Readers:

Welcome to the November 2023 Just Resolutions newsletter sponsored by the Public Disputes & Consensus Building Committee.  The theme for this issue is “Artificial Intelligence (AI) Regulation in the Context of Public Disputes and Consensus Building – Addressing Threats, Advancing Opportunities and Reimagining Challenges. Issue editor Tina Patterson has brought together a diverse and knowledgeable group of authors who each offers a unique perspective on how AI technologies have the potential to transform how we approach public disputes and consensus building. 

In his article, Federico Ast showcases innovative ways in which AI, blockchain and crowdsourcing could be used for designing better dispute systems; Larry Bridgesmith shines a light on how DR practitioners can play a vital role in convening and facilitating conversations to find common ground on AI policies; Kassi Burns offers a thought provoking examination of how AI based tools could help better balance the scales for social justice; and Caleb Green underscores the need for stakeholders from across sectors to come together to collaboratively develop IP laws and privacy regulations to ensure AI continues to drive positive change. We  extend our sincere thanks to each of these authors for their thoughtful and compelling contributions to this issue.  We would also like to acknowledge our Committee Fellow, Alec Chapa, who devised this fascinating and timely theme.

In today’s world where public conflicts and disagreements are inevitable, finding ways to facilitate productive dialogue and arrive a mutually beneficial outcomes is crucial.  Our authors have presented a strong case that AI has the potential to bring objectivity, efficiency and innovation to the table, enabling stakeholders to navigate complex issues with greater transparency and guidance. 

Our committee hopes you will find these articles of interest.  We invite interested readers to become members of the Dispute Resolution Section’s Public Disputes and Consensus Building Committee and to join us for discussions at our quarterly committee meetings and sponsored webinars. For information about our committee, please see our committee page and/or contact one of our committee co-chairs.

With gratitude,

Loraine M. Della Porta, Co-Chair ([email protected])

Tina E. Patterson, Co-Chair ([email protected] )

Post Script from Loraine: I would like to recognize and thank our PD&CB Committee Co-Chair, Tina Patterson for serving as our Editor for this issue.  Tina, please know how much we appreciate your hard work and professionalism!

A word from Fellow, Alec Chapa:

Whether tech has and will continue changing our field is without question; whether tech will be harnessed for its greatest and most ethical civil potential has yet to be seen. 

The pitfalls and unrealized risks of modern tech are in no short supply, including those that have challenged democracy in recent years, like the wildfire circulation of conspiracy theories concerning public issues such as the 2020 election. People really care, and that’s always more workable than apathy. The challenge is to create effective collaborative avenues to channel the passion through, and to make tech the servant of these deliberative, constructive processes.

While tech can easily feel daunting to just about anyone – like the very engineers that created ChatGPT – it’s also wide open with possibility and potential, like an uncarved block. Yes, dispute resolution, tech, and ODR are often thought of as the wild, wild west with relatively less regulation; that’s also what allows it to be wildly innovative for those who can dream with care. 

Read on for the unique insights our contributors have made to this important topic, and be a part of making the collective, slow-motion decision on the impact tech will have.

Thank you,

Alec Chapa, SHRM-CP, PMP
Fellow for the Public Disputes & Consensus Building Committee
Principal at Mosaic Conflict & Business Consulting

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