Are We There Yet? The Implications of Society’s Impatience to Rely Upon Artificial Intelligence
By: Sean Tropea
Are We There Yet? The Implications of Society’s Impatience to Rely Upon Artificial Intelligence
By: Sean Tropea
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Are We There Yet? The Implications of Society’s Impatience to Rely Upon Artificial Intelligence

By: Sean Tropea – Georgia & South Carolina Licensed Attorney with Brownlee Whitlow & Praet, PLLC


      In late 2022, American artificial intelligence (“AI”) company OpenAI released a chatbot called ChatGPT, which has now become a prominent topic of discussion for many professions, including the legal profession, due to its theoretical ability to facilitate a more accessible means for the masses to organize and articulate information at increased efficiency and overall quality.

      While a large segment of society’s professional workforce may find AI such as ChatGPT to be a tool of the future and thus become eager to rely upon it, there are currently several noteworthy shortcomings of these conceptually attractive, but nevertheless imperfect programs. In the context of law-related services, ChatGPT has already proven itself to be unreliable and raised several ethical issues that have proven to be costly to lawyers and their clients alike.

      This article focuses on the implications and concerns that may be presented to those who choose to implement and rely upon incomplete AI-based programs, such as ChatGPT, to perform certain tasks that can produce dire consequences if mismanaged, such as those of legal counsel.

The Pros

      The positive implications of AI chat bots such as ChatGPT are potentially wide-ranging. When it comes to conducting and compiling research, AI offers the prospect of allowing professionals who regularly handle specific knowledge-based matters, such as lawyers, to perform such tasks more efficiently and effectively. More specifically, ChatGPT boasts the ability to quickly search large amounts of text and information to provide results that presumably contain relevant information on whatever search prompt has been provided to ChatGPT by its user.

      In the legal profession, the most used research programs currently provide sufficiently comprehensive databases
wherein a user can find information so long as the user has the knowledge and time to perform successive manual searches.
AI chat bots have now begun to raise eyebrows because if they reach a reliable level of sophistication, they can notably
reduce the amount of time spent performing successive searches which could result in lower time expenditures for lawyers
and lower costs for clients.

      Another potential benefit of these chat bots is their ability to generate documents more quickly than it may take a
human to perform the same task. To instantaneously compose in a manner that appears similar to a well-educated human
but without expending time going through multiple edits and drafts before settling on an acceptable final draft would allow lawyers to draft documents even under potentially unreasonable timelines. However, one cannot lose sight of:

The Cons

      The risks that accompany AI’s current sophistication levels should not be ignored and have already produced chilling consequences for legal professionals.

      It is difficult to predict the speed at which AI will progress, since programs such as ChatGPT are driven by algorithms that are constantly being improved and refined. It is likely that future expansion and reliability will occur, but the foreseeable
future will continue to contain dangers for those who fail to recognize and observe where the current limitations of AI end
and where the ethical responsibilities of a human should begin.

      Notable shortcomings of AI chat bots that still present risks for lawyers and many other professionals consist of those relating to accuracy and security of information.

      Legal professionals have tested the current “lawyering” abilities of chat bots such as ChatGPT. Attempts to perform
research on law topics such as personal jurisdiction (which is fundamental knowledge obtained by juris doctor candidates
and presumably understood by any competent lawyer) resulted in incomplete and inaccurate results that would mislead a
chat bot’s user who intends to rely on the search results.

      In 2023, a New York attorney utilized ChatGPT to compile research to support a legal argument relating to a personal
injury lawsuit. The court in which the lawsuit was filed raised understandable concern after determining that several of the
cases cited by the attorney “appear to be bogus judicial decisions with bogus quotes and bogus internal citations.” The attorney, via affidavit, stated that he “was unaware of the possibility that its content could be false” and had never used ChatGPT for legal research before. Circumstances such as this risk compromising not only the license of any involved
attorneys, but the ability to obtain a favorable outcome for the parties those attorneys represent.

What do chat bots mean for the future of law?

      As chat bots and AI continue to evolve, clients of lawyers who face complex issues will still require lawyers to offer
expertise, judgment, and counsel; however, those lawyers will face an increased need for AI tools to deliver legal services
more efficiently and effectively. In fact, these tools are on such a foreseeable trajectory to become valuable that lawyers may need them in certain contexts to satisfy their duty of competence.

What do chat bots mean for the future of the residential rental housing industry?

      Like the forecast for the legal industry, residential rental housing industry professionals may soon witness changes in how certain day-to-day functions and/or job positions may begin to incorporate or even become entirely replaced by the usage
of AI. When it comes to legal and compliance-based matters, though, the allure of AI’s ability to efficiently compile and organize information may also create a dangerous climate where non-lawyers are more frequently encouraged to take action without first consulting legal counsel, resulting in a number of consequences that include, but are not limited to, incurring expenses to remedy and resolve issues that are created or exacerbated by reliance upon an AI tool to provide legal
information without possessing a formal legal education. Additionally, this newly increased access to information may also increase the risk of non-lawyers in the residential rental housing industry using AI-generated information to engage in communications that result in consequences for the unauthorized practice of law, regardless of whether the substantive communications could be argued as reasonably or objectively accurate.

      In summary, society is on pace to inevitably begin accepting the usage of AI, but this should be done at a careful pace so we may learn to utilize such informational tools in a reliable manner.

*The information provided in this article does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information in this article is for general informational purposes only. Information in this article may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information. Viewers of this material should contact their attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter. No viewer of this material should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information in this presentation without first seeking legal advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction. Only your individual attorney can provide assurances that the information contained herein – and your interpretation of it – is applicable or appropriate to your particular situation.  Use of, and access to, this article does not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader and Brownlee Whitlow & Praet, PLLC or any contributing law firms. All liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this article are hereby expressly disclaimed.