GPT-3 – how the new AI model may change the future of the legal profession?
For about the month, the tech world has been talking about the new AI model developed by Open AI, which at first glance, seems to be a breakthrough in the development of Artificial Intelligence. Explaining GPT-3 in simple words: it is a language model, which ha been trained to predict the next word in a sequence of text, and as a result, it can write articles, blog posts, poetry, lines of code or even imitate legalese, etc. with a minimal input of data from the user. In even more simple words: it is a software, which allows humans to request what kind of text or code you need, and the AI can deliver that in a way, which is hard to distinguish from the human work.
The ability of the AI model to predict the next words in a sequence of a text itself is not a novelty. What distinguishes GPT-3 from previous AI models is its gigantic size when compared to the earlier GPT-2 model and hence, its astonishingly good performance. You can find in the web some examples presented by people who received access to the private beta (anyone can apply for that; however, the waiting list is very long).
Two of them you can find below, and it should be especially striking for lawyers:
Another excellent example of how powerful the new GPT-3 model may be a fake blog, where GPT-3 has written all texts, and it has achieved thousands of readers and even several subscribers, unconscious of the fact, that the blog posts were not human-generated. This case has been described by the creator of this blog: https://liamp.substack.com/p/my-gpt-3-blog-got-26-thousand-visitors and widely in the tech world: https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/08/14/1006780/ai-gpt-3-fake-blog-reached-top-of-hacker-news/
The use case below is mind-blowing for me as a layperson in software development. GPT-3 can generate software code just based on a short description of the functionality in natural language: https://twitter.com/sharifshameem/status/1284095222939451393
How can GPT 3 be applied in legal work?
At the moment, GPT-3 has not yet been fully released to the public; however, the examples already presented may give some insight and ideas about the possible use cases of this technology.
1. Legal research
The possible application of this new AI model is the improvement of the existing legal research tools. Searching for case law or relevant legislation may become easier if the end-user will be able to ask direct questions about the legal issues, and the AI can respond to them by showing exact provisions of law or jurisprudence in the form of a quick reply. This is something that key players on the legal research market have been working for years and now seems to be quite realistic. There are, however, doubts about the data, which the AI has been fed with. In case of tools provided by Lexis Nexis or Wolters Kluver, this data is carefully curated and distilled, while in the case of GPT-3, this is still a question of how “smart” it is.
2. Contract drafting
After having seen the examples of GPT-3 being able to understand legalese or writing blog posts on different issues, the obvious use case of the new AI model is drafting simple contracts. The end user would only have to express requirements in plain language, and the AI could transform these requirements into contractual provisions. Although it is quite hard to predict, that GPT-3 will be able to draft contracts of high complexity, creating short ones for consumers or SMEs seems to be a realistic option.
3. Self-service legal tools.
Although there are a lot of concerns related to the application of AI in many different areas of life, including privacy issues or bias of the AI, there is also an opportunity for the society to increase access to legal aid and, as a result, access to justice. The reality is that Google search has become one of the ways of looking for legal advice for millions of people around the world, with all the risk of inaccurate or even false conclusions. An easy to use and “smart” AI-powered search may become an alternative to that.
All the predictions of the application of GPT-3 in the legal field may be pure futurism, nevertheless, in the opinion of many people from the Legal Tech world, GPT-3 seems already to be a major breakthrough in the development of AI and a proof, that the exponential growth of this technology will eventually reshape the legal market.