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Direct Hit! A Lawyer’s Unsuccessful Journey Through the ChatGPT Minefield.

Direct Hit! A Lawyer’s Unsuccessful Journey Through the ChatGPT Minefield.

If you’ve been following the mainstream news or internet memes over the past week, you would find it difficult to miss the many references to James Cameron’s 1997 epic romance and tragedy, Titanic, as it related to the sad and unfortunate journey of the OceanGate Titan submersible. The topic of this article, however, focuses on the premise of a different James Cameron classic that details the dangers of artificial intelligence and potential for robot overlords. Cameron’s 1984 masterpiece, The Terminator, provides us with a depiction of what the “worst-case scenario” could look like in an artificial intelligence-dominated world and might even persuade some to believe that hiding hard-copies of our nation’s nuclear codes in the basement of your golf resort is not such a bad idea after all. Okay, let’s not go that far, but it’s not so crazy to believe that A.I., if misused and/or misunderstood can prove to be a dangerous technology.

This past March, more than 1,000 technology leaders, researchers and other pundits working in and around artificial intelligence signed an open letter warning that A.I. technologies present “profound risks to society and humanity.” Just last month, Geoffery Hinton, the nicknamed “Godfather of AI”, announced his resignation from his part-time position with Google so that he could speak more openly about his concerns about A.I., specifically, how he believes A.I. may soon grow smarter than, and even manipulate, humans.

Without getting too doom and gloom (and talking fire and brimstone), the point of this post is to discuss a relatively harmless misuse of A.I. and how it backfired for one unsuspecting lawyer.

One of the inherit traits of the human race is laziness. Humans are inherently lazy and technology is, among other things, designed to increase the efficiency of our laziness. For example, ChatGPT and its counterparts have been crowned the next evolution of the internet search engine (as if the internet wasn’t easy enough to use) due to the ability of these products to perform the task of “machine learning” in a matter of seconds. The NFT Newsroom explored how one segment of the real estate profession, real estate agents, are using ChatGPT in their everyday professional lives. In this article, we discussed how users of ChatGPT should be careful to avoid the “minefield” of errors and misinformation that could arise when solely relying on A.I. powered search tools instead of basic human intelligence, research and critical thinking skills.

Just ask the unsuspecting ChatGPT attorney, who relied on ChatGPT to draft a legal brief for a case in Federal District Court that ended up being loaded with fake judicial opinions and legal citations. Facing sanctions from the Federal District Court, the lawyer explained during a hearing before Judge P. Kevin Castel, how he could “not comprehend that ChatGPT could fabricate cases.” It didn’t take very long for Mr. Lawyer’s opposing counsel to point out that the cases cited in Mr. Lawyer’s brief did not exist. The attorney, who has been practicing law for over 30 years said that he learned about ChatGPT from his college-aged children and articles, but had never used it professionally. Let’s just say he’s 0 for 1 in such professional use. This lawyer’s story has captivated both the tech and legal worlds and furthered the debates about the dangers posed by artificial intelligence and its place in the practice of law. This episode also highlights the exact scenario that the NFT Newsroom warned about!

The lessons here are simple, do your research, check your sources and don’t be lazy.

Also, for those hoping that chat-bots will someday replace lawyers, NOT TODAY! WE’RE STILL HERE!

In the words of T-800, “I’ll be back.”

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By: Michael A. Mulia