Ride the Lightning

Cybersecurity and Future of Law Practice Blog
by Sharon D. Nelson Esq., President of Sensei Enterprises, Inc.

ChatGPT-4 Released: Smarter and Safer for Lawyers (and everyone else)

March 16, 2023

CNET reported on March 14 that ChatGPT-4 has been released, though only in the premium version.

The new GPT-4 can generate much longer strings of text and respond when people feed it images, and it’s designed to do a better job avoiding pitfalls that existed in the earlier GPT-3.5. For example, when taking bar exams that attorneys must pass to practice law, GPT-4 ranks in the top 10% of scores compared to the bottom 10% for GPT-3.5, OpenAI said.

GPT stands for Generative Pretrained Transformer, a reference to the fact that it can generate text on its own and that it uses an AI technology called transformers that Google pioneered. It’s a type of AI called a large language model, or LLM, that’s trained on vast amounts of data collected from the internet, learning mathematically to spot patterns and reproduce styles.

OpenAI has made its GPT technology available to developers for years, but ChatGPT, which debuted in November, offered an easy interface that yielded an explosion of interest. ChatGPT is free, but it falters when demand is high. In January, OpenAI began offering ChatGPT Plus for $20 per month with assured availability and now, GTP-4.

“In a casual conversation, the distinction between GPT-3.5 and GPT-4 can be subtle. The difference comes out when the complexity of the task reaches a sufficient threshold,” OpenAI said. “GPT-4 is more reliable, creative and able to handle much more nuanced instructions than GPT-3.5.”

Another major advance in GPT-4 is the capacity to accept input data that includes text and photos.

Another is better performance avoiding AI problems like hallucinations — incorrectly fabricated responses, often offered with just as much Apparent authority as answers the AI gets right. GPT-4 also is better at foiling attempts to get it to say the wrong thing: “GPT-4 scores 40% higher than our latest GPT-3.5 on our internal adversarial factuality evaluations,” OpenAI said.

GPT-4 also adds new “steerability” options. Users of large language models today often must engage in elaborate “prompt engineering,” learning how to embed specific cues in their prompts to get the right sort of responses. GPT-4 adds a system command option that lets users set a specific tone or style, for example programming code or a Socratic tutor: “You are a tutor that always responds in the Socratic style. You never give the student the answer, but always try to ask just the right question to help them learn to think for themselves.”

OpenAI acknowledges significant shortcomings that persist with GPT-4, though it also touts progress avoiding them.

“It can sometimes make simple reasoning errors … or be overly gullible in accepting obvious false statements from a user. And sometimes it can fail at hard problems the same way humans do, such as introducing security vulnerabilities into code it produces,” OpenAI said. In addition, “GPT-4 can also be confidently wrong in its predictions, not taking care to double-check work when it’s likely to make a mistake.”

The large language models seem to understand a lot of subject matter and to converse in human sounding although stilted language. Large Language Models really don’t know anything. They just put words together in very refined ways.

This statistical but fundamentally somewhat hollow approach to knowledge led researchers, including former Google AI researchers Emily Bender and Timnit Gebru, to warn of the “dangers of stochastic parrots” that come with large language models. Language model AIs tend to encode biases, stereotypes and negative sentiment present in training data, and researchers and other people using these models tend “to mistake … performance gains for actual natural language understanding.”

OpenAI got a big boost when Microsoft said in February it’s using GPT technology in its Bing search engine, including a chat features similar to ChatGPT. Microsoft has now said it’s using GPT-4 for the Bing work. Together, OpenAI and Microsoft pose a major search threat to Google, although Google has its own large language model technology too, including a chatbot called Bard that Google is testing privately.

The AI world, as you might discern, moves rapidly!

Sharon D. Nelson, Esq., PresidentSensei Enterprises, Inc.
3975 University Drive, Suite 225Fairfax, VA 22030
Email:   Phone: 703-359-0700
Digital Forensics/Cybersecurity/Information Technology