Since OpenAI released ChatGPT in late 2022, a variety of new generative AI chatbots have flooded the market and, unlike many AI systems before them, have hit a culture zeitgeist. ChatGPT—and programs that rely on GPT technology—are seemingly everywhere. A student might use a chatbot to generate a five paragraph essay on The Scarlett Letter, for instance. A manager might use one to email to their colleagues about the latest office policies. Or, perhaps, a lawyer might deploy one to begin a real estate contract, or a legal brief? (For a useful breakdown of the timeline and how the technology works, see “ChatGPT is everywhere. Here’s where it came from,” in the MIT Technology Review.) As Annie Lowrey writes in The Atlantic, “No single technology in modern memory has caused mass job loss among highly educated workers,” Lowrey wrote. “Will generative AI really be an exception?”
In this issue, we explore what ChatGPT and generative AI technologies mean for the legal profession, a profession that upholds and prioritizes interpretation and the meaning of words. Andrew Perlman, dean of Suffolk Law School, presents a series of interactions with ChatGPT and the new Bing Chat (Microsoft’s search engine integrated with Open AI’s technology). In his piece, he demonstrates both what may work, and what may be more problematic. He also elevates issues lawyers, should consider when engaging with the technology. Building on that, we also explore questions of ethics and professionalism, as well as what ChatGPT means for legal research and writing. Finally, we speak with Jason Boehmig, CEO of the contract intelligence company, Ironclad, whose latest product incorporates GPT-3. As he says, “AI is never going to replace lawyers, but lawyers who use AI and lawyers who use technology are absolutely going to replace lawyers who don’t.”
What’s next for ChatGPT and other generative AI tools is a debated question. But if ChatGPT has anything to say about it, the future is bright:
One area where generative AI is likely to continue to grow is in creating more realistic and convincing images and videos. This could have important applications in fields such as gaming, virtual reality, and film production.
Another promising area for generative AI is in creating more realistic and personalized chatbots and virtual assistants. With advances in natural language processing, these systems may be able to generate responses that are more engaging and personalized to the individual user.
However, as with any rapidly evolving technology, there are also concerns about the potential risks and ethical considerations associated with generative AI. It will be important for developers and researchers to consider the potential implications of these technologies and work to address any negative impacts they may have.