Companies are set to ramp up spending on artificial intelligence (AI) and other technologies in the coming years despite expectations of rising legal disputes over its use and implementation, according to a new survey.

Law firm CMS polled more than 500 corporate counsel, risk managers, information technology specialists, and compliance professionals as part of its survey, “Technology Transformation: Managing Risks in a Changing Landscape.” Of the total respondents, 69 percent said their organizations will make greater use of technologies like AI over the next three years as they become increasingly critical to the business.

However, 50 percent of respondents believe the use of AI technologies will give rise to risks and disputes that cannot be foreseen now, and more than half (56 percent) expect AI to be a leading source of increased disputes.

The survey, conducted during February and March 2022, found the leading sources of disputes over the past three years have been compliance and regulatory issues (as stated by 65 percent of respondents), performance/service level and outsourcing (61 percent), IP and trade secrets (52 percent), and software licensing (51 percent).

Over the next three years, more than three-quarters (76 percent) of respondents expect compliance and regulatory disputes to decrease, while two-thirds (67 percent) expect cyber breach disputes to decline. Some 62 percent expect IT performance or service level disputes to decrease.

Respondents also said legal/compliance teams have a higher confidence in identifying current technology risks than executives do.

Lee Gluyas, partner in CMS’s dispute resolution team, said, “The picture that emerges is of current risks being downgraded in their importance as organizations focus on prioritizing how to manage emerging risks relating to new technologies.”

Respondents believe IP and trade secrets will become the biggest area for increased disputes in the coming three years (62 percent), with issues arising from AI (56 percent), smart contracts (55 percent), and cryptocurrencies (52 percent) following suit.

Consequently, dispute resolution should change to meet the risks of new technologies, said the majority (57 percent) of respondents, though only a third (34 percent) expect disputes arising from AI technologies would follow the same principles as non-AI disputes.