4 min read

Fringe Legal #78: why is everyone talking about ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is a tipping point in the development of AI. It can have a significant impact on the future of legal technology, but we are a couple of iterations away from it being mainstream.
Fringe Legal #78: why is everyone talking about ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is a tipping point in the development of AI. Here’s why you should care and what it might mean for the future of legal tech.

Lately, you may have noticed that a lot of people in the tech community are talking about ChatGPT. ChatGPT, or "Conversational Generative Pre-trained Transformer," is a groundbreaking artificial intelligence language model capable of generating human-like text and conversation.

So this is a chatbot? We have those already.

ChatGPT can generate human-like text and conversation, but unlike other chatbots that may have limited functionality and rely on pre-programmed responses, ChatGPT can understand and respond to natural language input in a way that is incredibly similar to how a human might respond.

This means that ChatGPT can engage in conversations with users in a way that feels natural and intuitive, making it an incredibly useful tool for businesses and individuals. Additionally, ChatGPT is not limited to conversations – it can also generate text and content.

One potential use for ChatGPT is its ability to improve the delivery of legal services. With its natural language processing capabilities, ChatGPT could potentially be used to automate certain legal tasks, such as reviewing contracts or drafting basic documents.

By using ChatGPT to handle these tasks, you could potentially free up time and resources to focus on more complex and specialized tasks, improving efficiency and productivity. In addition, ChatGPT's ability to communicate with clients in a natural, intuitive way could make the process of seeking legal advice more accessible and user-friendly for individuals who may not have previous experience with the legal system.

The potential integration of ChatGPT into the legal field could have significant implications for legal technologies that currently perform similar tasks. Especially those technologies that use artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to automate certain legal processes, such as contract review or legal research.

The introduction of ChatGPT could potentially lead to the development of more advanced legal tech tools that can use its natural language processing capabilities. This could result in even more efficient and sophisticated legal tech solutions, potentially leading to widespread adoption in the legal industry.

However, it's important to note that integrating ChatGPT will likely take some time before we see widespread adoption. In the meantime, legal tech solutions that are currently on the market will continue to play a crucial role in automating legal tasks and improving the delivery of legal services.

I particularly enjoyed the conversation the Zuva AI team shared. The team at Zuva are some of the OGs of the AI contract review space, and it’s great to hear their perspective on this. Three things stood out to me:

  1. ChatGPT is more akin to the Tesla Roadster of 2019. It’s a good indication of what could be, but we need the Tesla Model 3 version before it becomes more widely used.
  2. How good the ML system is depends on how quickly you can go through the test - deploy - train - test cycle. This is very slow with ChatGPT.
  3. It is not cost-effective right now (see more below).

What does it mean for the future?

While ChatGPT gained 1M users in just 5 days - an unprecedented pace - it comes at a cost. A big cost! Some estimates put the running costs at $100k/day or $3M/month!

The [compute] cost is a limitation, and so is the fact that it can be wrong and can’t offer any real-time information. Paraphrasing Ben Thompson (Stratechery)

AI output is probabilistic: ChatGPT doesn’t have any internal record of right and wrong, but rather a statistical model about what bits of language go together under different contexts.

Sidebar: For those that might be interested, this Twitter thread has a deeper look into the costs of running ChatGPT:

So what can you expect? This is the beginning, and given the exponential nature of this type of technology, it’s wild to imagine what might lie just two iterations ahead. As the base data model improves further (it will be interesting what GPT4 or 5 might add in the future), ChatGPT could become a strong foundation for those building niche tools.

Instead of training an ML from scratch, why not take a well-trained model and teach it about specifics (like nuances of legal documents)? This could enable more “AI-enabled” legal tech tools or see a faster rate of improvement.

I’ll go back to the Analogy that the Zuva AI team made to Tesla.

Before Tesla, automotive manufacturers were certainly exploring EVs, but the release of the Model 3 provided an accelerant. OpenAI with ChatGPT might have the same effect.

Part of the adjustment might be a societal one - how do we tell what was created by AI and what by a human (hint: 60% of this issue was created by ChatGPT!). It’s not quite a replacement for a human, but it is a valuable tool to get started from a blank page.

For now, it continues to provide a source of amazement and entertainment. I’ll leave you with this to enter into the weekend:

Ab: Write a pitch for an innovative global law firm in the voice of Shakespeare

ChatGPT: Lend me thine ears, good people, for I bring tidings of a law firm unlike any other. This innovative global company, known as [Name of Law Firm], doth strive to bring justice to the far corners of the earth, using the latest in legal technology to serve their clients with speed and efficiency.

Gone are the days of slow, drawn-out legal proceedings, for [Name of Law Firm] is always at the forefront of legal innovation. Their attorneys are the finest in the land, trained in the art of advocacy and armed with the knowledge and expertise to tackle even the most complex of cases.

But [Name of Law Firm] is not just about winning cases – they are also committed to using their platform to bring about positive change in the world. Whether it be through pro bono work or advocacy for social justice, [Name of Law Firm] is always seeking ways to make a difference in the lives of others.

So if thou art in need of legal counsel, look no further than [Name of Law Firm]. Their team of dedicated attorneys will fight for thy rights and ensure that justice is served. Trust in their expertise and innovation, for they are the future of the legal industry.

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