ChatGPT is not for the faint of heart

Posted on March 16, 2023

ChatGPT in the current format my firm has access to is not for the faint of heart.

As a disclaimer, I will say we only tested the chatbot along a few dimensions and we didn’t consider the other uses of AI in the legal profession, such as in document preparation and searches. I personally only tested it on one – a recent speech I was writing on a not too esoteric legal topic. It failed in the way that juniors sometimes can write things that seem completely reasonable but are completely wrong.

On the plus side, it failed quickly as it only took a few seconds to get the output. It wove together a tale of combined misinformation, disinformation, misdirection, falsehoods, and truths in such a smooth and subtle way that even for a subject matter expert it was difficult to sort out.

Of course, this has potential liability written all over it. It is not difficult to imagine that someone will at some point miss something or use it for some task that it is not approved for in the firm because they have a deadline to meet.

I think that despite the fancy name, GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) still applies. It’s just in a fancier wrapper. Though in the old days you owned the GI portion yourself. ChatGPT draws on everyone’s available digital data which is infused with various degrees of GI now and can’t really sort it out. For our firm, the time it takes to sort out the output ourselves is not worth it.

On top of that if you don’t like plagiarizing, you’re out of luck.

Interestingly, just today I saw a post on LinkedIn in which the author replied to a question of a commenter, clearly by posting the output of ChatGPT on a mildly technical topic. You can imagine the embarrassment when the commenter who understood the reply was chatbot generated replied that the answer was far off the mark.

It is concerning that ChatGPT is being released so widely and embedded in many applications such as Microsoft Bing without any real apparent guard rails except whatever happens to occur to the team building it.

ChatGPT is possibly the reinvention of the Tower of Babel.

Posted in: Uncategorized