Previously, I co-authored a two-part post on the advantages and disadvantages of using Technology Assisted Review (“TAR”) in E-Discovery document reviews. These articles can be found here and here. TAR helps attorneys during the review phase of E-Discovery by deploying algorithms that can quickly classify documents based on training provided by expert reviewers. TAR can provide statistics, categorizations, and reporting information that a human reviewer simply could not do in a timely manner.
The main takeaway from the previous articles was that TAR was not created to replace standard reviewing processes and protocols but instead was intended to streamline those processes so that reviews are more accurate, timely, and efficient. Of course, new technologies are being created and utilized every year. The most significant developments lately are the rise of chatbots - software applications that allow for online chat conversation via text or text-to-speech, without any direct contact with a human operator. Currently, the chatbot garnering the most attention is OpenAI’s ChatGPT program. This article will focus on this technology and how it works either for or against the E-Discovery review process.
What Is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is a chatbot that is powered by an artificial intelligence (AI)-based language model. The GPT stands for generative pre-trained transformer, which in turn is a group of language models being trained on Large Language Model (LLM) sets. These LLMs are the main difference between it and current E-Discovery TAR programs. This tool is capable of answering complicated questions and responding in a conversational manner. It generates its responses based on predicting the most likely sequence of words based on information that has already been inputted. In fact, ChatGPT has already been trained by analyzing over 350 billion words extracted from the Internet and book collections. ChatGPT’s knowledge is so vast, it reportedly was able to pass an MBA entrance test as well as a medical licensing exam.
As we all know, E-Discovery can be a time-consuming, arduous, and costly process. Finding any way to help streamline this process is welcome. Current E-Discovery practices generally involve some form of keyword searching to decrease the document population for human reviewers to oversee. Also, in certain instances, the use of predictive coding or TAR is employed to further narrow that document population. Of course, the use of TAR still requires a human being to input documents into the algorithm which takes time and is prone to human error. Could the use of ChatGPT help solve these problems? As with any new technology there are going to be advantages and disadvantages.
Potential Advantages of Using ChatGPT in E-Discovery
While unproven, there are potential advantages of using ChatGPT in E-Discovery..
Potential Disadvantages of Using ChatGPT in E-Discovery
As with any technology, ChatGPT comes with pros and cons. The pros of using ChatGPT in E-Discovery are theoretical and unproven. However, we can foresee some clear potential disadvantages of the technology as well.
As with current predictive coding processes, these advanced technological advances are designed to help improve the efficiency of certain E-Discovery tasks. By streamlining the processes, technology cuts down the time needed to review and process information, and ultimately cuts down costs. However, even with these advances, these technologies will certainly not replace the need for lawyers. Ultimately, there is no replacement for human expertise and judgment; these tools are merely meant to aid in the process.