If you’ve been in the legal marketing world for a while, you know that AI is about to completely upend the landscape. Maybe you’ve even heard that your practice area pages and blog posts no longer need to be written by a human.
But before we jump to the next hype cycle, it’s important to consider how this new technology might affect the field of law. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Human in the Driving Chair
There’s a lot of buzz about chatbot ChatGPT, a free chatbot that uses natural language processing to produce responses that are surprisingly human-like. Launched in November 2022, it reached a million users within five days and has been the subject of many headlines and press releases.
In its early days, the chatbot has earned a place among the top natural language models in the world. It can generate computer code, college-level essays, and even halfway-decent jokes. But as more people ask ChatGPT to generate content, questions arise about its abilities in a variety of contexts.
As with most machine learning models, ChatGPT is constantly evolving based on the data it’s trained on. This process means that its capabilities will improve over time, allowing it to respond better to new questions.
Moreover, it can also generate more accurate answers, which can lead to more believable responses. This is a key advantage in many use cases, such as legal assistance.
But generative AI tools can also disrupt a variety of industries, from creative arts to business and manufacturing. One example is the potential for chatbots to help engineers design new products.
That’s why many engineers are curious about how a bot could improve the design process. For example, if it were able to generate more accurate feedback on product designs, that could lead to an improved user experience.
While these advances are still in their infancy, the possibilities for this technology are endless. We can expect this sort of innovation to have a profound impact on the way that we interact with others in our society, from the way we share information to the way we make decisions.
The question is, however, how quickly can these technologies advance? And how can we prepare for them?
As the field of AI and machine learning continues to develop, many experts are worried about the potential for the technology to exacerbate a variety of problems. For instance, some fear that chatbots may be used to cheat on academic papers.
Fortunately, there are some things we can do to protect our students from this kind of threat. For instance, we can form policies limiting how students can use ChatGPT in their writing assignments. That way, they can continue to learn the skills they need to succeed without sacrificing their integrity.
AI Assists Lawyers, Not the Other Way Around
When you think of AI, you probably think of smart assistants like Alexa or Siri that help you complete mundane tasks. But AI can also assist legal professionals and common people alike to automate processes such as reviewing documents or identifying critical clauses in a contract. These systems eliminate the need for humans to perform repetitive tasks and allow them to focus on higher-level issues.
In the legal industry, these AI-powered solutions can help lawyers save time by analyzing a client’s file in a matter of minutes. They can identify critical clauses in a contract and recommend what the lawyer needs to look for to make sure he or she is protecting their client’s rights.
ChatGPT can act as a virtual paralegal and provide support to lawyers in several ways. Here are some examples:
- Legal research: ChatGPT can assist lawyers with legal research by generating search queries, identifying relevant cases and statutes, and summarizing legal principles. This can save lawyers time and allow them to focus on more complex legal tasks.
- Drafting legal documents: ChatGPT can be used to draft legal documents such as contracts, briefs, and pleadings by generating language based on predefined templates or custom input. While it cannot replace the skill and judgment of a human lawyer, ChatGPT can help to speed up the drafting process and ensure consistency across documents.
- Client communication: ChatGPT can be used to communicate with clients by generating responses to common questions, sending follow-up messages, and providing updates on case status. This can help to improve client satisfaction and reduce the workload of lawyers.
- Document review: ChatGPT can assist with document review by identifying potentially relevant documents, summarizing their contents, and highlighting key information. This can save lawyers time and ensure that all relevant information is considered.
However, it is important to note that while ChatGPT can be a useful tool for lawyers, it should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal expertise or human judgment. ChatGPT may not always generate accurate or complete information, and it may not take into account all relevant factors in a particular situation. Therefore, it is important for lawyers to review and edit any responses generated by ChatGPT to ensure that they are accurate and appropriate for the specific situation.
Several challenges lie ahead for AI in the legal industry, including trust and security concerns that will require careful implementation. One issue is those generative AI models like ChatGPT generate data from external sources, so law firms must pay extra attention to any information that originates outside their firewalls.
Another problem is that a significant amount of data must be processed and managed for these types of models to work effectively, so securing this data can be a challenging task. This is especially true if the model uses a complex structure such as ChatGPT, which will require sophisticated hardware to manage the data efficiently.
Finally, many legal professionals are apprehensive about using AI in their practice because they fear that it may drive job losses or decrease demand for human lawyers. This is because the legal industry is a highly competitive industry that requires highly skilled and knowledgeable employees to perform its daily duties.
If AI becomes widely adopted in the legal industry, it will have a profound impact on how we conduct business and make decisions. The ability to process vast amounts of data and analyze it quickly will be a game changer for any legal professional.
Despite these challenges, a growing number of companies are investing in AI-powered tools that can help attorneys and other legal professionals perform their jobs more efficiently. With the right tools, AI can be used to streamline processes and reduce costs for law firms and their customers.
Expanding Human Perception
ChatGPT has taken the legal community by storm with its conversational capabilities. Almost a month after its release, questions about how this AI could impact legal practice and the delivery of legal services are still swirling.
At its core, ChatGPT is a generative language model, meaning that it does not have to be programmed specifically to do certain tasks. Instead, it can learn from data about a variety of topics and apply that knowledge to specific requests. This allows it to do things that are otherwise impossible for a computer.
However, it can also make mistakes. As OpenAI co-founder Yann LeCun pointed out, the machine fluffed a question about the James Webb Space Telescope in its own tech demo and has a tendency to create fictional answers to questions it doesn’t know the answer to.
Similarly, it can be given incorrect information about law firms or their lawyers or services. For example, many state bars require attorneys to steer clear of using the word “specialty,” or declaring themselves as an expert on a particular area of law. Until the technology is better able to discriminate between these and other types of words, it is likely that attorneys will continue to need to use human writers to create content for their practice areas or blog posts.
And while the technology might be able to produce high-quality, well-thought-out content that is easy to read and understand, it won’t be able to generate creative, original work. That is a skill that only humans can develop, and it’s unlikely to be replicated by an artificial intelligence system in the near future.
In addition, ChatGPT’s output is formulaic in structure and style, reflecting a long-standing trend of writing that is rules-based rather than expressing creativity. This is similar to the way that students were trained to write the five-paragraph essay decades ago, and it reflects an expectation that writing should be a straightforward process.
This isn’t to say that the technology doesn’t have the potential to do good, but it’s important to remember that we don’t have enough understanding about how AI works to say that it’s a replacement for human reasoning or being imaginative. In the meantime, we should look at it as a tool that offers an interface into an impenetrable world and is designed to be used for a limited set of tasks that don’t demand more than it can give.
True Bicycle of the Mind
Law firms and legal professionals have been exposed to a variety of AI tools over the years, including applications that evaluate the probability and profitability of civil actions, aid judges in making pretrial detention determinations, and assist with research and writing briefs. These tools are gaining widespread adoption, and with good reason—they can help attorneys save time, increase productivity, and decrease costs.
However, they also come with ethical and security concerns that need to be addressed in the context of the legal industry. Specifically, chatGPT and generative language models can produce content that is misleading or inaccurate. In addition, they are not fully trained to identify offensive or racist content.
This is a problem in general, but especially for the legal industry, where fake news is a growing concern. As a result, chatGPT and other generative language models have been seen to generate news articles that are similar to the human-written versions, increasing the risk of a false positive on search engine results pages.
In response, OpenAI is training ChatGPT to recognize and address common queries like “Where is a hospital?” and “Does my dog have a fever?” They are also collecting user inputs from the chatbot, which they use to improve the model and identify vulnerabilities.
The model has already been used to create doppelgangers for famous people, including Tim Ferriss and Marcus Aurelius. It is also known to produce text with a human quality and engage in conversations that can be as wide or in-depth as the prompts it is given.
These capabilities blur the line between machines and humans, and they can be a source of creativity for people. That’s why the model has become so popular in such a short period of time.
While there is no doubt that ChatGPT is an exciting and potentially useful tool, it should be used with caution and care in the legal industry. For this reason, early adopters should consider how they will use it to ensure that the technology is being used in an ethical manner. This will require a basic understanding of how chatbots work and what kind of ethical and security implications they present.