A Q&A with ChatGPT
By Major Trent A. Kubasiak
Articles about artificial intelligence (AI) currently fill the news, with some experts believing that new AI language models are a discovery rivaling the invention of the internet. 1 The popular ChatGPT language model from the company, OpenAI, is now freely available to users on the internet, and it is already causing disruptions in the classroom and beyond.2 As the capabilities of AI language models are being explored in real time, many white-collar professions fear oncoming irrelevance.3 The legal profession has not been immune from scrutiny, and an AI language model already has been pitted against the bar exam.4
What about the U.S. Army and the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps, specifically? How could AI language models impact our dual profession? For answers, I turned to ChatGPT itself and asked it a series of questions to test its knowledge and capabilities. What follows below is a transcript of our “conversation;” I asked the questions as written, and copied and pasted the answers just as ChatGPT provided them. I start with some baseline knowledge questions, and then turn to analysis of potential impacts.
Q: Can you explain what ChatGPT is and why I might want to consult with it?
A: ChatGPT is an AI language model developed by OpenAI. It has been trained on a large corpus of text data from the internet and can generate human-like text responses to various types of questions.
You might want to consult with ChatGPT if you're looking for quick information or answers to questions in a wide range of topics, such as general knowledge, history, science, and technology, among others. ChatGPT can provide concise and accurate information and can save you time compared to manual searches.
It's worth noting that while ChatGPT is a highly advanced AI model, its responses are generated based on patterns it learned from the data it was trained on, and not necessarily based on a deep understanding of the world. As a result, its answers may not always be 100% accurate or up-to-date. Nevertheless, ChatGPT can be a useful tool for quickly generating responses to a wide range of questions.
Q: Could you explain the United States military’s military justice system for someone who is unfamiliar?
A: The military justice system in the United States refers to the legal system that governs the conduct of military personnel. It is separate from the civilian justice system and is designed to maintain good order, discipline, and justice within the military. In the military justice system, military personnel can be charged with offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), which is a federal law that applies to all branches of the military. The UCMJ defines a wide range of offenses, including crimes such as murder, assault, and theft, as well as military-specific offenses such as desertion and insubordination.
When a military member is accused of a UCMJ offense, the case is typically handled through a series of hearings and trials, depending on the severity of the offense and the rank of the accused. Less serious offenses may be handled through administrative or non-judicial punishment, while more serious offenses are typically handled through court-martial proceedings.
The military justice system also provides various rights and protections to military personnel, including the right to counsel and the right to a fair and impartial trial. The system also includes an appeals process that allows military personnel to challenge their convictions.
Overall, the military justice system is designed to maintain good order, discipline, and justice within the military, while also protecting the rights of military personnel and ensuring fair and impartial proceedings.
Q: Are the systems of military justice in the United States military the same, or are there differences between the Army, Navy, Air Force, and other services?
A: The military justice system in the United States military is not uniform across all services. While there are similarities, each branch of the military has its own unique court martial system and military justice procedures, which are governed by their respective service regulations. For example, the Army, Navy, and Air Force each have their own JAG Corps, which is responsible for providing legal services to the respective branch and overseeing military justice matters. The procedures for conducting a court martial and the responsibilities of military judges and lawyers can vary between the services. Additionally, the types of offenses that can be tried in a court martial and the punishment that can be imposed can also vary between the services.
It is important to note that the military justice system is governed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), which provides a basic framework for the administration of military justice in all branches of the armed forces. However, each service has the authority to adopt additional regulations and procedures to further govern military justice within their respective branch.
Q: If I were a commanding officer and my subordinate Soldier disrespected me, what options are available to me in the military justice system? 5
A: If a subordinate Soldier under your command disrespected you as a commanding officer, there are several options available to you in the military justice system, depending on the specific circumstances of the situation. Some of the options include:
Administrative action: You may be able to address the disrespectful behavior through administrative means, such as counseling or disciplinary action under the military's personnel regulations.
Non-judicial punishment: You may choose to initiate non-judicial punishment proceedings, also known as Article 15 proceedings, under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). This option allows you to impose punishment without a court martial.
Court martial: If the disrespectful behavior is serious or if non-judicial punishment is not appropriate, you may choose to refer the case to a court martial for trial.
It is important to note that the appropriate course of action will depend on the specific circumstances of the situation, including the nature and severity of the disrespectful behavior.
Additionally, as a commanding officer, you should be familiar with the military justice system and regulations governing your branch of the service to ensure that you are taking appropriate and lawful action in response to the disrespectful behavior.
Q: What impacts will AI-driven content have on the United States Army?
A: AI-driven content through applications like ChatGPT has the potential to impact the United States Army in several ways, including:
Automated support: AI systems like ChatGPT can provide Soldiers with immediate and accurate information, reducing the time and manpower needed for support tasks.
Decision making: AI systems can analyze large amounts of data, helping military leaders make better informed decisions.
Training: AI-powered virtual assistants can provide soldiers with customized training exercises and simulations.
Predictive maintenance: AI systems can analyze equipment performance data to predict when maintenance is needed, helping to reduce downtime and improve operational readiness.
However, the impact of AI-driven content on the Army will also depend on various factors such as the availability of data, the level of trust in the technology, and the ability to integrate AI systems into existing systems and processes.
Q: What impacts will AI-driven content have on the legal profession? Will those same impacts be felt in the military justice system?
A: AI-driven content has the potential to impact the legal profession in several ways, including:
Efficient document review: AI systems can quickly analyze large amounts of data and identify relevant information, reducing the time and cost associated with manual document review.
Predictive coding: AI systems can predict the outcome of legal cases based on previous cases and help lawyers to focus their research and analysis on the most relevant issues.
Contract analysis: AI systems can analyze contracts and identify potential risks and conflicts, helping lawyers to provide better advice to clients.
In regards to the military justice system, AI has the potential to impact the administration of justice and legal processes in a similar way. For example, AI systems could assist in the analysis of legal documents, assist in decision-making, and aid in legal research.
However, it’s important to note that AI technology is still in its early stages of development and that the impacts of AI-driven content on the legal profession, and on military justice, will depend on various factors such as the availability of data, the level of trust in the technology, and the ability to integrate AI systems into existing systems and processes.
Q: Does AI-driven content like ChatGPT have the ability to disrupt the legal field?
A: Yes, AI-driven content like ChatGPT has the potential to disrupt the legal field. For example, it can automate repetitive tasks, such as document review, contract analysis, and legal research, freeing up lawyers’ time for more high-level work. Additionally, AI can provide fast, accurate and scalable insights and predictions, which can support lawyers in decision making and strategy formulation. However, it is important to note that AI is not meant to replace lawyers, but rather to enhance their capabilities and improve their efficiency.
Q: Are there different potential disruptions in military justice legal work, or are the anticipated disruptions from AI-driven content the same?
A: The potential disruptions from AI-driven content in military justice legal work are similar to those in other areas of law. AI has the potential to automate repetitive tasks such as document review, contract analysis, and legal research, freeing up military justice lawyers’ time for more high-level work.
Additionally, AI can provide fast, accurate, and scalable insights and predictions, which can support lawyers in decision making and strategy formulation. However, it is important to note that AI is not meant to replace lawyers in military justice, but rather to enhance their capabilities and improve their efficiency.
It is also worth mentioning that the military justice system has specific requirements and regulations that must be followed, and AI-driven content may need to be tailored to these requirements in order to be effectively integrated into military justice legal work.
It is hard not to come away impressed with the capabilities of this AI language model. The answers it provides are succinct, well-organized, and generally correct. Even when asked a question requiring some discernment (how to react to a Soldier’s disrespect), the answer from ChatGPT is a good baseline response, not dissimilar to the type of quick legal advice frequently delivered to commanders. Sticking with the same example, this Q&A revealed limitations. As our own Commander’s Legal Handbook would tell our disrespected commander, they could consider whether to take action at all and refer to Rules for Courts-Martial 306(b) factors and Non-Binding Disposition Guidance when making a disposition determination. Despite this, the lack of nuanced analysis should bring us some confidence that commanders still need their judge advocates.
The opportunities presented by this new technology strain the imagination. From document review to motions writing, there is potential for judge advocates to begin to use this technology in their practice starting now, and there are few limitations or technical tools that can be leveraged to deter potential abuses.6 If there is going to be disruption to the legal profession, we are probably already in the midst of the potential transformation.
MAJ Kubasiak is the Chief of Justice for the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, New York.
1. Ananya Garcia, Bill Gates Says ChatGPT As Big An Invention As The Internet: 'Will Make Many Office Jobs…', Benzinga (Feb. 10, 2023, 3:35 AM), https://www.benzinga.com/news/23/02/30850547/bill-gates-says-chatgpt-as-big-an-invention-as-the-internet-will-make-many-office-jobs.
2. See Jeremy Weissman, ChatGPT Is a Plague Upon Education, Inside Higher Ed (Feb. 9, 2023), https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2023/02/09/chatgpt-plague-upon-education-opinion.
3. Bernard Marr, What Does ChatGPT Really Mean For Your Job?, Forbes (Feb. 13, 2023, 2:29 AM), https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2023/02/13/what-does-chatgpt-really-mean-for-your-job.
4. Mary Lu Bilek & Deborah Merritt, ChatGPT Almost Passed the Bar, But Competent Lawyers Do Much More, Bloomberg Law (Feb. 13, 2023, 4:00 AM), https://news.bloomberglaw.com/business-and-practice/chatgpt-almost-passed-the-bar-but-competent-lawyers-do-much-more.
5. Compare the ChatGPT answer to the Commander’s Legal Handbook. The Judge Advocate Gen.’s Legal Ctr. & Sch., U.s. Army, Commander’s Legal Handbook sec. 2. para. C (June 2019).
6. Emily Hinkley, Plagiarism Detector Turnitin is Developing a System to Spot ChatGPT, Legal Cheek (Feb. 13, 2023, 10:36 AM), https://www.legalcheek.com/2023/02/plagiarism-detector-turnitin-is-developing-a-system-to-spot-chatgpt.