AI and the Science of the Deal

Matthew Hutson, writing for the journal Science in his recent article, “How artificial intelligence could negotiate better deals for humans” observed, “You may know the art of the deal, but there’s a science to it, too. And artificial intelligence is beginning to learn it. Computers that could negotiate for us could automate and optimize everything from traffic intersections to global treaties.”

Conference on AI

Hutson was writing about the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence and a paper presented there called, “When Will Negotiation Agents Be Able to Represent Us?”

The paper deals with fully autonomous negotiation specifically, yet the principles discussed are true of negotiations in general. It also highlights potential benefits of computerized negotiation systems more broadly.

Massive Application Potential

Science spoke with the primary author of the paper, Tim Baarslag, to learn about the potential for intelligent negotiations. He replied that “In principle, there are tons of applications. Humans often fail to reach the best agreements where computers can. On top of that, computer negotiation can be done very fast…. Think of the Paris climate deal, or simply coalition agreements for the next government.”

Preference Elicitation

The paper itself deals with the difficulty of preference elicitation—the way that interests on each side of a negotiation feed into the process.

The research is exciting for the Resolution Cloud team, as it highlights both challenges our team has identified and tackled along the way, and the great opportunities for vastly superior negotiations made possible through greater computing power and carefully designed algorithms.

The future is bright for negotiators and dealmakers. More importantly the promise of a more democratized way to build fair, win-win agreements is significant and worthy of further effort.


To see the article by Matthew Hutson, find it here.

To read the research presented at the conference, find it here.

Smartsettle ONE can deliver benefits for a wide array of organizations from governments to insurance companies. To learn how your firm or agency can provide your users with intelligent Smartsettle-powered negotiation solutions, contact us today. We look forward to exploring the best options with you.

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