Before writing an essay, you need basic knowledge of the topic. So you read articles and research reports, listen to experts, and do your homework. Without this foundational knowledge, your content will be flat, and people familiar with this topic will be able to tell you didn’t do your homework.
That’s what generative artificial intelligence (AI) brings to the table. Generative AI creates content — text, images, product descriptions, lines of code, etc. — using the internet as its source of information.
Understandably, this sounds scary to legal professionals worried about AI taking their jobs. The development of this technology will undoubtedly change the way legal functions, but not in the way you think.
What Is Generative AI?
While Predictive AI organizes, analyzes, and categorizes data, Generative AI “creates” content based on user prompts.
One major example: ChatGPT (Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer) has been making the rounds in corporate and household discourse over the last few months because of its ability to produce essays, answer complex questions, and adopt a specific tone when asked.
Because it can create content at the drop of a hat, many lawyers are concerned that this technology will make their work obsolete. But this viewpoint keeps industries beholden to the status quo.
There’s No Need to Be Scared of Generative AI
Even though generative AI creates content based on user input, it couldn’t have performed such sophisticated tasks without being trained by mountains of data. ChatGPT, for example, was trained on 570 GB of data and 3 billion words. So even though it generates new output, the text it creates is really just a strategic combination of all the data it’s been fed.
Although generative AI can process mammoth amounts of information and generate complex outputs, it still can’t think independently. This means generative AI is unlikely to displace professionals in industries like legal. If left to its own devices, AI technology can generate nonsense and discriminatory content that passes as genius because of jargon.
Instead of making lawyers obsolete, generative AI makes them even more necessary, as they are needed to verify the output’s content for accuracy.
How Generative AI Will Change the Future of Legal
The adoption of generative AI in legal is inevitable. This doesn’t mean that lawyers will be replaced by robots, but that legal professionals will be trained to work alongside them and assess their outputs. Check out this blog post to get a legal engineer’s take on if a robot should practice law.
Innovative legal teams already use AI to sort and parse their contracts. Generative AI can add to this capability by helping to draft and review contracts, generate legal reports, and summarize legal decisions more quickly. Tasks that are notoriously time-consuming become easier with the help of AI, leaving lawyers with more time to focus on higher-value tasks that drive the business forward.
Generative AI is not a monster under the bed but a potential benefit to legal teams that harness its power to make their work easier. To fight AI is to fight innovation.
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