John Tredennick and Dr. William Webber: What Will Ediscovery Lawyers Do After ChatGPT?

Extract from John Tredennick and Dr. William Webber’s article “What Will Ediscovery Lawyers Do After ChatGPT?”

Back in the ‘90s, some wag predicted that the law office of the future would consist of a lawyer, a dog and a computer.

The lawyer’s job would be to turn the computer on in the morning. 

The dog’s job would be to keep the lawyer away from the computer for the rest of the day!

This prophecy doesn’t seem so far fetched after OpenAI’s release of ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence program eerily reminiscent of HAL from the classic 2001: A Space Odyssey. Spend a few minutes with ChatGPT and you quickly realize it may not even need the dog to keep the lawyer at bay. 

So what is ChatGPT and why does it have ediscovery lawyers worried about their future? 

ChatGPT is an AI tool that is capable of answering complex questions and generating a conversational response. (Indeed, It reportedly passed a Wharton MBA exam and the three-part U.S. Medical LIcensing Exam.) It generates text by iteratively predicting the most likely word or sequence of words to appear next, given the words already written. Imagine continuously hitting “TAB” on a much smarter autocomplete. 

The underlying software is powered by a deep learning AI model called GPT-3 (soon to be superseded by  GPT-4). It is a powerful language processing AI model trained by “reading” around 350 billion words crawled from the Web, from Wikipedia, and from book collections. The deep learning model extracts about 175 billion parameters from this data, requiring a huge amount of computational power to do it. 

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