The Mumbai Centre for International Arbitration organised India Alternative Disputes Resolution Week 2023, an event which kickstarted from Bengaluru on 9-10-2023, while Mumbai and Delhi also witnessed intense discussions around various aspects of arbitration.  

While at Bengaluru, several people shared their views on emerging technological advancements and its various facets having an impact on arbitration and its stakeholders.   

The event began with discussion on Exploring the evolving role of expert witnesses in the age of AI and the impact of the Digital Personal Data Protection Act (DPDP) Act with opening remarks by Mr. Puneet Garkhel, Partner & Leader, Forensic Services, PwC India. 

Mr. Garkhel pressed upon the importance of expert witnesses in the world of alternative dispute resolution and suggested that “Expert witnesses now need to consider the impact of artificial intelligence, data protection and many other emerging domains in the gathering of evidence and providing substantial testimonies to get the case going. While the onset of the digital age usually simplifies tasks, these advancements primarily also come with ethical and practical questions, such as How do we ensure integrity? How do we ensure impartiality of the expert witness in the era of AI?” 

Mr. Shai Wade, Partner & Head – International Arbitration, Reynolds Porter Chamberlain, came up with throwing light upon the dramatic change observed in overall legal practice, and expressed that such impact stems from technological developments making the transitional phase a bit difficult for practitioners.  

Mr. Darshan Patel, Partner, PwC India connected the dots between disputes being technology based and suggested expert witnesses to simplify some of the complex aspects like different creatures, AI, machine learning.  

Ms. Moushumi Vaidya, Executive Director, PwC India made everyone wonder on “How do you see AI will be really useful and where do you see it? Will it rather be a hindrance rather than use?”  

On the usual debate of risk factor of AI over several professions, Mr. Wade explained that “I think the interesting point is if everybody’s using the same tool and it’s coming out with the same results then that’s a perfect result for the process for our traders. If I’m sitting and I have two parties and they’re advocating the same thing it’s a very short route to an enforceable award. So that’s great. For experts, you’re going to have a problem explaining the answers that your AI has come up with and whilst we don’t understand the process, we will still probably need lawyers and experts to explain what’s happened in the meanwhile. But as the AI improves it might be able to explain its methodology as well as just producing a decent output. So, we still have some time to enjoy our professions.” 


Mediation, ODR- will they emerge as new and efficient mechanisms for dispute resolution in India? 

On the Online Dispute Respolution (ODR) emerging as the new buzz word in dispute resolution space, Ms. Tine Abraham, Partner, Trilegal raised the question of “Will Mediation and ODR emerge as new and efficient mechanisms for dispute resolution in India?”  

Mr. Rajneesh Jaswal, Co-Founder, CADRE explained about ODR and tagged the same to be an extension of ADR channels with more inclusivity.  

Ms Tara Ollapally, Co-Founder, CAMP Arbitration & Mediation Practice came up on mediation to explain that “One of the biggest reasons why people try meditation is because of the time and the cost factor. But that’s not the only advantage of the process. The advantage of the process is it supports resolutions that come from a place of understanding the needs of the party’s dispute.” 

Mr. Vikas Mahendra, Partner, Keystone Partner, Advisor, CORD suggested for realizing ODR as a spectrum whose different ends will require slightly different degrees of regulation. To which, Mr. Rajneesh commented that “I think the current state of the law with the Information Technology Act, with the Arbitration Act, and now with the DPDP Act is sufficient regulation for this sector. You don’t need anything more. What you do need is for the ODRs to sort of get together, have a self-regulation code like any other industry.” 

Ms. Akshetha Ashok, Co-Founder, Sama discussed the need to making mediation mandatory and raised several questions regarding what it offers, to comment that “the principles of mediation really encompass taking care of these assets so even with commercial courts being mandatory.” 


Resolving Technology and IP-Related Disputes across All Industry Sectors: The AAA-ICDR Way 

Ms. Aastha Chawla, Director (Asia), AAA-ICDR introduced the topic of discussion saying that “AAA-ICDR has been a pioneer in the field of dispute resolutions through arbitration. Now we do not want to use the word alternative anymore for arbitration because it has become the main dispute resolution mechanism and technology disputes are on the rise. When it comes to a technology dispute, we make sure that someone from the technology panel is appointed as a neutral.” 

Mr. Ashish Kabra, Head, Singapore Office, Nishith Desai Associates commented on the contrast between traditional arbitration and technology disputes and shared his views that for arbitration to be the chosen mechanism for tech companies for resolving their disputes, the process needs to earn its respect. 

Mr. Saurabh Awasthi, General Counsel, Kyndryl India brought in another aspect that “IT Companies are the largest employers and they have got a ton of resources. And where you have got people, you will have problems. Those could be employment disputes which see lesser of let’s say the need for a formal dispute resolution but take, for instance, large payouts.” 


ChatGPT and AI in arbitrations, flavour of the month, or definitive use case? 

Mr. Navneet Hrishikesan, Executive Director, Legal, Cisco explained the technical connect through artificial intelligence that “The whole model that used to work on AI was basically called supervised AI. There’s a lot of data which you use, and they call it training data. So, you take the training data, you pass it through an algorithm. Let’s say I want to build an app which identifies human faces. I will then take a bunch of pictures from the net or from this conference put it through the system and put labels on it. So, I’m defining an output. So, I’m saying that this is a human face, right? I will then add other data in there, maybe my dog’s picture or my cat’s picture and add those in there and define that as being non- human. Then we will be able to recognize whether that face is a human face or a non- human face. You’re defining what the system should be telling you. Now we move to the world of Chat GPT and what is called Generative AI. So, what’s the difference? The first two parts are generally the same. The training data remains the same. The algorithm is also being used. The difference is these algorithms, or these solutions will use this data to actually create new things, as opposed to just responding to what is the decision or the output, I wanted from it. So, this could be video, audio, could be pictures it will take what it has got, and it will make something newer.” 

Mr. Arun Mal, Senior Associate, Allen & Overy named document production and document management solutions being the types of AI solutions regularly used in arbitration context, having started with deploying a large language model like Chat GPT.  

The event was concluded with a vote of thanks by MCIA. The event continued in Mumbai and Delhi.


*Note: This transcript was provided by TERES.

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