Negotiation

A New Tool: "Predictive Analytics"

Texas lawyer and mediator Don Philbin has devised a piece of software that, based upon thousands of negotiations, can indicate the likely responses to various negotiation offers and demands, thus guiding counsel in what response an opponent will likely take to a particular negotiation tactic, avoiding guesswork and streamlining the process.

Philbin says that the software, Picture It Settled,  is “a highly intelligent predictive analytics tool that is based on deep data harvested from thousands of cases.”  He describes it as a mix of “neural networks, probability theory and behavioral patterns.”

He claims that the software “estimates when parties are likely to settle and for what amount with high accuracy.”  Taking the place of intuition and guesswork is a reliable and data-backed model of anticipated reactions to various moves.

Philbin sees three types of benefits for negotiators availing themselves of this software: (a) scenario planning, (b) negotiation move planning, and (c) offer projections.  Says Pilbin, “Negotiators have distinctive, repetitive patterns of behavior so their strategic moves are not as unpredictible as people think.”

I have no idea whether the software works and whether it is accurate, but I suspect that few students of behavior would contest these observations.  Each of us thinks that the deal we are working on is, if not unique, at least peculiar.  Yet any claims agent in any insurance company will tell you values for a particular type of damage in a particular market for a particular type of claimant, just as any in-house insurance counsel will tell you how much it costs to move for summary judgment in Kansas City.  Do we really believe that there is that much variation in outcomes of identical cases?  Do we really think there should be?

Equal Does 'NOT' Mean

For years now game theorists and insurance companies have debated the feasibility of the “black box” — the neutral instrument that would read three “bids” and three “askeds” and inform the parties of the outcome.  Maybe we’re getting closer to that day?

2001 A Space Odyssey: Are you

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