Benjamin Alarie: The Rise of the Robotic Tax Analyst (January 2, 2023)

Benjamin Alarie, of University of Toronto- Faculty of Law; Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence, has made available for download his article, “The Rise of the Robotic Tax Analyst,” published in Tax Notes Federal, January 2, 2023, p. 57. The abstract is as follows:

As 2023 begins, developments with large language models, most prominently ChatGPT, a recent offshoot of GPT-3, are generating buzz in legal technology circles. They are also triggering wariness among some in legal academia and practice. On November 30, 2022, OpenAI made ChatGPT available for public use through an open beta. In less than one week, the system was deployed by more than 1 million registered users. The extremely rapid adoption was driven by claims — and plenty of evidence — of impressive algorithmic feats performed by ChatGPT. The capabilities of ChatGPT reportedly include achieving passing scores on practice bar and medical board examinations.

Within days of the release of ChatGPT, Andrew Perlman, the dean of law and a professor at Suffolk University, prompted the program to write an essay on its own likely influence in the future of law. The abstract to the essay, which Perlman assures us he wrote himself, concludes with the observation that “the disruptions from AI’s rapid development are no longer in the distant future. They have arrived, and this document offers a small taste of what lies ahead.” It’s not only GPT-3 and its progeny that have been making waves. It is fair to say that machine learning and AI are beginning to make their influence felt in some unexpected places. There is little reason to expect these and related developments to abate at the doorstep of tax analysis.

To wrap up Blue J Predicts for 2022, we will do some Dickensian stocktaking, visiting Blue J predictions past, present, and future. The initial order of business is to retrospectively analyze how the Blue J Predicts analyses have fared in 2022. Have our predictions mapped on to reality? Have the cases gone the way the machine-learning models and the algorithms have anticipated? Broadly, the answer is yes, although with the important caveat that we do not yet have the final word from the courts in many of the cases. We then consider the state of AI and machine learning in tax research and analysis. We outline some new ways in which machine-learning technology is poised to affect tax research and analysis this year, at Blue J and beyond. Finally, we look ahead to anticipate how AI could affect tax analysis and research, and explain why it is important to begin turning our attention to the possibilities.

To see the full article, click: “The Rise of the Robotic Tax Analyst,” by Benjamin Alarie 

Posted by Melissa Zheng, Associate Editor, Wealth Strategies Journal.

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