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Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts Urges Prudence and Awareness Over AI’s Role in Law

US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts has issued a year-end report highlighting the implications of artificial intelligence (AI) in the legal field.

13-Page Report Urges Caution

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In his 13-page report, he emphasized the need for “caution and humility” as AI continues to reshape how judges and lawyers operate.

Chief Justice Roberts Report

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Chief Justice Roberts expressed a mixed perspective on AI’s role in the legal domain.

AI’s Concerns

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He acknowledged that AI has the potential to improve access to justice for underprivileged litigants, transform legal research, and expedite case resolutions at a lower cost.

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Caution and Humility Needed

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Roberts mentioned that “any use of AI requires caution and humility.” He also quoted an example where AI led lawyers to use examples of court cases that never existed. He pointed this out as a particularly “bad idea.”

Raising Concerns Over Replicating Human Discretion

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He also raised concerns about privacy and the limitations of current AI technology in replicating human discretion.

The Future of Human Judges

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Roberts predicted that human judges would remain integral to the legal system but emphasized that AI would significantly impact judicial work, especially at the trial level.

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AI Hallucinations

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The chief justice highlighted the issue of AI-generated hallucinations, which have led to lawyers citing nonexistent cases in court documents. He noted that such occurrences had made headlines during the year.

Michael Cohen’s Case

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Roberts referred to a recent case involving Michael Cohen, a former lawyer for Donald Trump, who mistakenly included fake case citations generated by an AI program in an official court filing.

Regulation by Appeals Court

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A federal appeals court in New Orleans made headlines by proposing a rule to regulate the use of generative AI tools like OpenAI’s ChatGPT in court proceedings.

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Lawyer’s Will Need to Certify Their Work

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The 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals rule would require lawyers to certify that they did not rely solely on AI programs to draft briefs or that human review ensured the accuracy of AI-generated text in their court filings.

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