Eye on AI

Headshot of Jonathan Choi, USC Gould Professor
Professor Jonathan Choi looks into impact of artificial intelligence on the law.

The disruption of artificial intelligence – specifically how it will affect the practice of law – is one of the difficult issues Professor Jonathan Choi wrestles with in his research and scholarship.

Choi, who comes to USC Gould School of Law from the University of Minnesota Law School, specializes in law and artificial intelligence, tax law and statutory interpretation. This semester, he’s teaching a new course, “AI and the Future of Law,” exploring with students the ways AI can impact the law and how it regulates society.

“My students are curious about how the law will be used to regulate AI, how IP laws will apply to new AI models, and the ethical and professional issues around the use of AI,” he says. “These are big, open questions.”

Choi and co-authors took a step toward some answers this year in a pair of papers forthcoming in the Journal of Legal Education, putting ChatGPT to the actual test by giving it law school exams. He found that AI models are rapidly improving and, in some cases can outperform real students on law school exam questions.

“ChatGPT struggled with the most classic components of law school exams, such as spotting potential legal issues and deep analysis applying legal rules to the facts of a case,” Choi told CNN, one of several news outlets to cover the research. “But ChatGPT could be very helpful at producing a first draft that a student could then refine.”

Choi’s current research includes evaluating the use of large language models on traditional empirical legal scholarship, demonstrating how to use ChatGPT to analyze legal documents, and identifying best practices for the use of large language models in research. Another study examines the subjective costs of tax compliance, which surveyed taxpayers to probe what aspects of tax compliance ordinary people find most burdensome.

“By conducting surveys, we can understand consumer preferences around tax filing and hopefully understand what tax simplification reforms are most pressing,” Choi says.

As a teacher, Choi takes a cue from one of his favorite professors, Anne Alstott, the renowned Yale Law School tax and tax policy expert, who he says excels in reading the room to bring up the energy or explore a new topic of interest.

Read more about Jonathan’s story