We don’t need to teach negotiation skills anymore?

That is the question raised by this post on the Legal Skills Prof Blog.  The authors worry that the rise of technology-driven negotiations (e.g., software algorithms that can produce optimal settlement terms for parties) will replace the need for lawyers to negotiate for their clients.  Really?  Can we really automate the important search for underlying interests, the venting of emotions, and the common tactics that lawyers employ to engage in strategic bargaining?  What about the humanistic characteristics needed for integrative bargaining?  I sincerely doubt a computer could exhibit the problem-solving, creative characteristics of an effective negotiator.

4 thoughts on “We don’t need to teach negotiation skills anymore?”

  1. As far as I am concerned computers will never be able to replace skilled negotiators. You can only properly negotiate when you have the ability to read non verbal body language as well as interpret the figures and facts of each case. Sorry but don’t think they will be inventing a computer that can do this any time soon.

  2. I agree. Computers work best when performing tasks that contain a limited number of variables, and the amount of variables a skilled negotiator could manage seems nearly unlimited and ever changing. From the initial preparation of the BATNA and reservation price, to the rapport building that comes from face to face contact, to knowing when to use distributive techniques and when to use integrative techniques, its hard to imagine a computer program that could effectively manage all of these variables.

  3. I think you’re underestimating the power of computers and overestimating the importance of the human aspect in negotiations. True, there are many variables to take into account but that’s what computers are good at.. processing vast amounts of information quickly.

    Computers can already read body language and facial expressions.. it’s simply a case of deciding how those should be interpreted in a given situation. We will certainly see the day when a computer will be able to negotiate more successfully than a person..

  4. The article totally fails to take into account any human interaction and emotional input. I recently read a paper that demonstrated a method of lie detection using computers that is far ahead of the polygraph….could be interesting if this was introduced as well

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