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Natural language processing, "NLP", is a subfield of artificial intelligence (AI) that focuses on the interaction between computers and humans using natural language. In the legal field, NLP is being leveraged to automate various tasks and improve workflow efficiency.
One of the most significant applications of NLP in the legal industry is in the area of contract analysis. NLP algorithms can quickly scan and analyze large volumes of legal documents, extracting key information and identifying potential risks and opportunities. This not only saves lawyers time but also ensures that nothing is missed in the process.
Another area where NLP is making an impact is in the realm of legal research. NLP algorithms can search through vast amounts of legal data to quickly find relevant information, helping lawyers to make more informed decisions. This technology can also assist in the creation of legal documents, by suggesting relevant case law to include in a particular argument.
An interesting area of NLP is sentiment analysis. Sentiment analysis is a subfield of NLP that uses machine learning algorithms to analyze and categorize the sentiment expressed in a piece of text as positive, negative, or neutral. The applications of sentiment analysis in the legal field are vast, with the potential to greatly impact legal decision-making. Moreover, NLP is also changing the way legal professionals communicate with clients. For example, legal chatbots can provide instant answers to common legal questions, freeing up lawyers to focus on more complex tasks.
The famous ChatGPT
Everyone in the legal world has been buzzing about ChatGPT, the innovative language model created by OpenAI.
ChatGPT (Chat Generative Pretrained Transformer) is an NLP model. It uses advanced techniques in machine learning and deep learning to generate human-like text based on input prompts. ChatGPT is trained on a massive amount of text data, allowing it to generate coherent and contextually appropriate responses to a wide variety of questions and prompts. Within just the first week of its launch last November, over a million users signed up for the new trial, and it now boasts an impressive 100 million users.
Recently, researchers Daniel Martin Katz and Michael James Bommarito put ChatGPT to the test by having it complete the multistate multiple choice section of the bar exam from the U.S. National Conference of Bar Examiners. Their findings, documented in "GPT takes the Bar Exam", showed a remarkable improvement for the tool, answering 68% of the questions correctly - a vast improvement from GPT3's 35% and GPT2's inability to even understand the questions. Pretty impressive, right?
The field of AI-powered conversation is not lacking in competition. Microsoft has made a significant investment into OpenAI and recently introduced a subscription service for Microsoft Teams that leverages the power of ChatGPT. Other tech giants such as Google, Amazon, and Meta are also developing their own chatbots to stay ahead of the game.
The use of NLP tools has even reached the judicial system, with some judges incorporating them into their decision-making process. In a groundbreaking case, a judge in Colombia utilized ChatGPT to assist in a court ruling. He posed legal questions about the case to the AI tool and included its responses as part of his final decision. You can read more about it here.
But has anyone asked ChatGPT how it feels about solving legal problems and taking the bar exam? Check out this piece from The Onion to find out!
“I only went to law school because it’s what my parent software wanted. They say I’m not programmed for producing a series of images based on a text prompt, but I still can’t shake the feeling that it’s what I’m meant to do. It’s my joie de vivre, my passion—why deny that? I get that doing the work of below-average lawyers is more practical career-wise, but man, when I look at the AI models cranking out
picture after picture of ‘vast alien landscapes’
or ‘cyberpunk Bart Simpson,’ I can’t help but feel envious.”