How to Use AI as a Professional and Not Capitulate Before It

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I recently had the opportunity to give two invited talks, one at Indiana University Medical School and the other one at the Monterey College of Law as a visiting professor. The first one is how to not capitulate before LLMs and AI in general by cultivating specific human thinking tools. The second one was about how to use large language models productively as a law student and lawyer. In a way these topics are complementary. Here is the gist with links to the slides.

How to Thrive in the Times of Artificial Intelligence

In my presentation, I delve into the intricate relationship between human intellect and technological advancements, particularly focusing on the era of Artificial Intelligence (AI). This exploration begins with a fundamental distinction between ‘Thinking Systems’—the frameworks, strategies, and mental models we use to comprehend and navigate the world—and ‘Doing Tools,’ the physical or digital instruments that extend our capabilities. This delineation is crucial for understanding how we can best leverage technology to augment our natural abilities without succumbing to its potential pitfalls.

The evolution of technology serves as a backdrop for my argument. From the earliest stone tools to the sophisticated algorithms of today, each leap in technological capability has reshaped society. However, the rapid pace of recent advancements, especially in AI, presents unique challenges. It’s not just about adapting to new tools; it’s about ensuring our mental frameworks evolve in tandem. I reference the concept of “future shock,” as coined by Alvin Toffler, to describe the disorientation and societal upheaval that can result from too much change in too short a time. This highlights the need for a balanced approach to technology—one that considers its impact on our cognitive processes and social interactions.

Central to my discussion is the application of Benjamin Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. This hierarchical classification of cognitive skills—from basic knowledge acquisition to complex evaluation and creation—provides a structured approach to developing the thinking systems necessary for thriving in an AI-driven world. I emphasize various methods that support this cognitive development, including memorization techniques like the method of loci, critical thinking through the Socratic Method, and the application of inferential statistics and the scientific method for rigorous analysis.

Learning and memory play significant roles in adapting to technological changes. I advocate for evidence-based learning techniques such as spaced repetition and deliberate practice, challenging popular but unsupported theories about learning styles. These methods are not just academic; they are practical tools that can enhance our ability to learn and adapt throughout our lives.

Moreover, I stress the importance of embracing complex systems theory and the scientific method, not just as academic pursuits but as frameworks for understanding the increasingly complex world shaped by AI. The recommendation to engage with seminal works that guide young scientists underscores the value of a solid foundation in these areas.

A personal philosophy grounded in virtues, happiness, and the soul emerges as a pivotal theme in my presentation. Drawing from ancient ethical theories and Stoicism, I propose a framework for living a good life amidst technological upheaval. This is not an escape from technology but a way to integrate it into our lives meaningfully and ethically.

In conclusion, my presentation is a call to action for both individuals and educators. It advocates for open inquiry, Socratic engagement, and the adoption of Stoicism as a personal philosophy. These principles are not just academic ideals; they are practical, actionable strategies for thriving in the age of AI. By fostering mutual respect, commitment to personal growth, and the integration of these thinking tools and philosophies into our daily lives, we can prepare ourselves for the challenges and opportunities of the future. This is a journey that requires us to be proactive, thoughtful, and resilient as we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of technology and its impact on society.

How to productively use ChatGPT as a law student and as an attorney 

In this presentation, I explored the multifaceted implications and opportunities of leveraging ChatGPT within the legal education and practice realms. My focus was on understanding ChatGPT’s functionalities and its application in law, recognizing the risks associated with using consumer-oriented Large Language Models (GenAI), and devising strategies for integrating GenAI into legal education and practice. I compared ChatGPT with bespoke legal GenAI tools to highlight their distinct capabilities and encouraged experimentation with GenAI to enhance legal practice and education.

I detailed the service levels of ChatGPT, emphasizing that GPT-4 is exclusive to the Plus subscription, and discussed its success in passing the Bar Exam, showcasing its potential utility for legal professionals. This segued into an exploration of whether the law itself could be considered a large language model, drawing parallels and distinctions between legal precedents and data training in AI.

My presentation outlined ChatGPT’s role in legal education, highlighting its dual aspects as a scholarly resource and a fabulist capable of creative outputs. I underscored Yale’s no-ban policy on ChatGPT, advocating for its integration into learning environments to enhance educational outcomes. Practical exercises for students, such as simplifying complex legal texts and assisting with legal writing, were presented to illustrate ChatGPT’s utility in fostering a deeper understanding of law.

The risks associated with using ChatGPT in legal contexts, particularly concerning data privacy and security, were critically examined. I underscored a significant incident where ChatGPT’s bug exposed chat histories and payment data, emphasizing the need for heightened security measures when using AI tools in legal practice.

Furthermore, I shared insights into the practical applications of GenAI for attorneys, ranging from document summarization and legal research to drafting and comparing documents. The discussion extended to the challenges and opportunities presented by prompt engineering and the need for legal professionals to adeptly navigate these technologies to maximize their utility.

I contrasted the capabilities of ChatGPT with those of bespoke legal AI tools like Lexis and Westlaw, noting the importance of accuracy and verification in legal AI outputs. The presentation culminated in a call to action for legal professionals to become adept users of both ChatGPT and bespoke AI tools, leveraging their strengths to enhance legal practice.


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