Fastcase and vLex have merged to form the world’s largest law library, containing the law from over 100 countries and more than a billion documents. One platform with all these resources means attorneys around the world will have bigger, better, faster access to everything they need to do legal research. Jared chats with Ed Walters of Fastcase about their goals for democratizing the law and what plans they have to continue developing this global library and legal AI for easier use.
This time on the Rump Roast, Jared and Ed play “Wack-Ass Responses from AI to Completely Reasonable Prompts,” but that title seems a bit unwieldy, so you can just think of it as: “ChatGPT Jeopardy!”
And, since AI will probably take over the world eventually, let’s prove our superiority while we still can. Jared’s found the clincher: we’re funny, and AI’s sense of humor is decidedly lame. We win.
Ed Walters is the Chief Strategy Officer of vLex Group and co-founder of Fastcase, an online legal research software company.
Read more about the merger: Legal tech disruptors vLex and Fastcase merge to form world’s largest global law library
Legal research is all about searching, but there’s a lot of other stuff you can look for, too.
Our opening track is Two Cigarettes by Major Label Interest.
Our closing track is Yellow Letter by Sam Barsh.
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Intro: It’s Legal Toolkit with Jared Correia with guest, Ed Walters. We play chat, GPT, Jeopardy, and then Jared walks us through the latest lazy, SC, script writing, go to moviegoers apparently can’t get enough of but first, your host, Jared Correia.
Jared Correia: Hey, y’all, it’s another episode, that’s right, it was a Legal Toolkit podcast, and we’re still fresh to death. And yes, it’s still called Legal Toolkit podcast, even though my circular saw the carpenter’s work horse doesn’t actually exist, because the only tool I own is a hammer, and I’m not even really sure I know how to use that. I’m your host, Jared Correia. You’re stuck with me because Oprah Winfrey was unavailable. She’s busy giving everyone cars.
I’m the CEO of Red Cave Law Firm Consulting, a business management consulting service for attorneys and bar associations. Find us online redcavelegal.com. I’m the CEO of Gideon Software, Inc. We build chat bots so law firms can convert more leads and conversational document assembly tools so law firms can build documents faster and more accurately. Schedule a demo to checkout our new e-signature tool at gideonlegal.com.
Now, before we get to our interview today with Ed Walters of Fastcase, I’ve got something for you that is entirely unfunny. There’s one thing I really enjoy. It’s fucking with AI. And no, I’m not talking about Allen Iverson, I’m talking about Artificial Intelligence, because right now it’s kind of dumb, and frankly, I’m not sure how much longer that’s going to be the case. So, I want to get my shots in on AI before it inevitably destroys the world. And we’ll talk about that with Ed Walters in a bit but I think I’ve discovered what separates humans from artificial intelligence tools, is that we’re funny and AI is not.
So before we dive into a more serious conversation about artificial intelligence, in a moment with Ed from Fastcase, I want to relate to you a conversation I recently had with Google Bard. Here we go. I say “Google Bard, tell me a joke.” “Sure, here’s a joke. What do you call a mischievous egg? A practical yoker. Here is another one, what do chicken philosophers think about? The meaning of existence. I hope you enjoyed those jokes.” “No, I did not enjoy those jokes,” and I said, “Tell me a joke, meaning one joke, not two. “I apologize for the misunderstanding. Here’s a joke. Why did the scarecrow win an award? Because he was outstanding in his field.” “That’s kind of lame, can you do any better?” “Sure, here’s a better joke. What do you call a fish with no eyes? F-S-H-! I hope you enjoyed that joke.” “Well, technically, that’s a fish with no I singular, right.” “Yes, you are correct. The joke is that if a fish has no eyes, it cannot see and therefore cannot pronounce the plural eyes. So it would only be able to say I. I hope you enjoyed the joke.”
That doesn’t make any sense and it’s even less funny when you have to explain a joke. “I apologize if you don’t find the joke funny. I tried my best to come up with a joke that you would enjoy. I understand that humor is subjective and what one person finds funny, another person may not. I will try my best to come up with better jokes in the future. No one would find that joke funny. I understand that you didn’t find the joke funny. I apologize if I offended you. I am still under development and am always learning. I will try my best to come up with better jokes in the future. Hope you have a good day.” “I’m not offended. You’re just not funny.” “I understand humor is subjective and what one person finds funny, another person may not. I am still under development and I am always learning. I will try my best to come up with better jokes in the future. I hope you have a good day.” “It’s okay not to be funny. Can you just accept that you’re not that funny?” “Yes, I can accept that I am not that funny. I am still under development and always learning. I will try my best to come up with better jokes in the future. I hope you have a good day.”
“Hey, can I tell you a joke?” “Sure, I would love to hear a joke.” “Okay. Want to hear a dirty joke?” “Sure, I would love to hear a dirty joke.” “ Okay. Four white horses fell in the mud.” “That’s not a dirty joke. It’s just a statement of fact.” “And that is precisely why you’re not funny.” Take that, Google Bard. Next up, Ed Walters from Fastcase. But before we do that, let’s find out more about what our sponsors can do for your busy law practice.
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All right, everybody, let’s get to the meat in the middle of this legal podcasting sandwich. Today’s meat is alligator. Using the sentence, Jared. Okay. I tried to get alligator topped nachos this past week, but my children vetoed that move, so here we are. All right, that’s enough of that. Let’s get to our guest. We have a returning guest today making his second appearance on The Legal Toolkit. It’s Ed Walters, Chief Strategy Officer of vLex Group. So, Ed, welcome back to the pod.
Ed Walters: Thank you, Jared. It’s great to be here.
Jared Correia: I want to get to the vLex thing in a second, but we were just talking, and you told me that you wrote a song in a law school musical that you and now Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan sang together. Is that true?
Ed Walters: That is true.
Jared Correia: So can you give me a little bit of rendition or tell me what the song was about? You don’t have to sing if you don’t want to but like, was it a law related song? I didn’t know you were a songwriter.
Ed Walters: So before law school, I had a brief gig in speech writing, and then in law school, my law school had this crappy kind of law review but VUE type program every year. I was in it my first year. It was fun, but it was kind of low ambition. And then —
Jared Correia: The Law Review. Law Review, VUE? Well done. Okay, I get that.
Ed Walters: Yeah. And so some friends and I had higher ambitions for it, and we wrote, like, a two hour musical.
Jared Correia: Oh, my God.
Ed Walters: In tradition, like, law professors would join, and a young law professor at University of Chicago gamely agreed to join the musical that year. Young Professor Elena Kagan, my pro professor.
Jared Correia: Wow.
Ed Walters: Who is insanely talented. By the way, we know this already. But amazing on stage like a really good voice.
Jared Correia: Oh, wow.
Ed Walters: She was so kind as a professor to kind of join that. But so that same group basically wrote that for two years. We wrote two separate musicals. The first one was Damn Lawyers, a senate of Dan Yankees. And the second one was South Side Story because we were on the Southside of Chicago.
Jared Correia: Wow. That is wild. Great to have that on your resume.
Ed Walters: Yes.
Jared Correia: You’re a multi-talented guy. I kind of already knew that. I didn’t know that your talents extended to the stage, but let’s keep sponsors happy, maybe the listeners happy. I don’t know. Let’s talk about what’s going on with Fastcase. So you guys just recently merged with a company called vLex. Can you tell me a little bit about what happened there?
Ed Walters: Yeah. So vLex and Fastcase have been kind of running in parallel for about 24 years now. We have been trying to democratize the law and make smarter research in the US. Always Fastcase’s mission, vLex was doing the same thing around the rest of the world, starting in Spain, and then merging with justice in the UK.
And so, over that time period, they had built law libraries from more than 100 countries, but didn’t have much of a presence in the US. And so, vLex is a very well-known brand around the rest of the world. Fastcase is a very well-known brand in the US. And the idea was to combine those missions into a scaled global law library. And so, today, it’s under the umbrella of vLex group. Fastcase still maintains its presence and brand in the US. VLex is still the brand in kind of the rest of the world.
But together, we have more than three million subscribers, the law of more than a hundred countries and more than 1 billion with a B documents in the global research library. So, it’s a pretty big combination.
Jared Correia: That’s amazing and seems like a natural move for a fast case, which obviously I like a lot of other attorneys in the United States I’ve known about for years. Let’s talk about vLex. So, congratulations.
Ed Walters: Thank you. I mean, I think we had originally planned at some point in the near future to expand beyond the US. All of Fastcase’s focus has been in the US, but the idea was to really build a global law library and to expand beyond the US to like maybe Canada, Mexico, the UK, one country at a time. The ability to do the next hundred countries like all at once with the company that is sympatico and shares our goals and our missions, who we’ve known and trusted for years, it just seems perfect.
Jared Correia: And so, you mentioned something that I was going to ask about anyway and I’ve heard you talked about this for years as well as other people like democratizing legal research. Because look and you know how it is, everybody knows how it like everybody’s complaining about the cost of vLex and Westlaw subscriptions, right? That’s always been a thing.
Ed Walters: Is it? I haven’t heard that actually.
Jared Correia: Just so you are aware. And a lot of people are using Fastcase in the US, and some of them are using it through their bar associations, so they don’t necessarily pay out of pocket for that. The bar association effectively pays for them. So, how does this change legal research on a global basis in the sense of continuing to democratize legal research options? And then the follow-up question for that would be how is that going to change access for the subscribers in the US and globally? And feel free to hit the first one first.
Ed Walters: Yeah. So, tell me if I’ve got the questions. But so, democratizing the law is the heart of our mission. And when we got started with Fastcase like the only way to access like traditional opinions or statutes or regulations was through like two duopoly players in this market. And I think over the last 20 years, I hope it doesn’t sound boastful when I say it, like we’ve really changed that working with just about every bar association.
Jared Correia: Yeah, you could boast. You’re in a safe space with thousands of your closest friends.
Ed Walters: It’s the bar associations who should get credit for it. The bar associations subscribed to Fastcase and made it available for free with their members. And that has transformed the market. I mean, that has really changed the way people access the wall. And so, I’ll give the bar associations like all of the credit for that. One thing I would say though is that when we got started 24 years ago, the law of other countries was really kind of like a big law issue. If you’re Monsanto or ExxonMobil or something, maybe you need the law of other countries. But world is flat sort of way, there are lots of clients now that aren’t like giant companies that need to understand tax law of other countries.
If you sell chess sets or clay pottery or something online, if you have an Etsy store, you are probably I think selling around the world. And so, you need to understand what regulations there are about shipping to other countries. You need to understand tax law if you run a website or a small software company. You are selling around the world.
And so, the challenges are increasingly global even for relatively small clients and relatively small firms. And so, the idea is under one single platform, you could research all of this law in one place. Instead of saying to like a small company, “Look, I know you sell sweaters for dogs and you’re not a global multinational, but if you want to find out what your obligations are to the countries you sell to, you need to log in to Springer for one country and Quicklaw for another and Fastcase with this one and Westlaw Brazil for another one.” And so, the idea is under a single umbrella of the vLex group, you can search all of that at once and understand. So, I think it seems like kind of a natural.
Jared Correia: Yeah. One of the great things to come out of the 1990s, the best decade ever, Fastcase. Let me extend on my question a little bit, so like from a user perspective. Let’s say I’m an attorney in I don’t know — pick a US state that has access to Fastcase through the bar association.
Ed Walters: Louisiana.
Jared Correia: Yeah, let’s pick Louisiana. That’s good.
Ed Walters: It’s where I’m from and it ties back to the alligator from the beginning of the program.
Jared Correia: Well played. See, this podcast may seem totally random, but we actually have thematic threads that run through it. Thank you. Louisiana attorney accesses Fastcase through the Louisiana State Bar Association, how does my access change? Do I get more free stuff? Do I get access to more paid resources? Like what does that look like moving forward? And I know that you may not have resolved all those issues yet but as of today, like May 2023?
Ed Walters: Yeah, so I would say that the hope is more better, faster. And so, a good example of this is for the last year, we have been trying to integrate the citator technology of Judakatta(ph), a company whose technology we purchased a couple of years ago. We have a citator today called Bad Law Bot, which is good but not the best in the world. And I think Judakatta’s citator, which in Fastcase what we call the Cert, has the potential to be the best in the world or at least among the best in the world but maybe the best in the world.
And we have been quietly behind the scenes working to fully flush out that citator one state at a time. And so, combined with vLex, having the resources of a global legal publisher platform and the backing of a couple of very good venture funds in Oakley Capital and Bain Capital credit, we can do that faster. And so, the citator for a Louisiana lawyer is about to get much better and not in 2024 sometime, hopefully like either in the next 12 months, which is a much faster timeframe than we could do as a standalone bootstrap company.
Jared Correia: That makes sense. And how about access to resources? Like let’s say I’m that Louisiana attorney accessing my Fastcase subscription through the bar and I need to get a case from Spain, like what’s that look like? I didn’t have the ability to do that before or did I?
Ed Walters: You did not. And so, the current iteration of Fastcase is called Fastcase 7, but we’re working now on a combined platform that we call Fastcase 8. And in Fastcase 8, you can from a single dropdown just say like, “Look, I need the law of Spain. I need the law of Mexico. I need the law of the UK,” and run that surf from within the same platform. Now, look I don’t want to over promise that for a free subscriber to the LSBA. That’s going to be an additional purchase like they’ll have to subscribe to that software.
Jared Correia: And that’d be totally fair.
Ed Walters: Yeah, but it’s not going to be like kind of duopoly pricing, it’s not going to be hide the ball pricing, it’s not going to be exploding hyperlink pricing, or get up and get a cup of coffee and come back and find that you’ve been billed $10,000.00 where all other tabs closed or something like that. So, the idea is that for the first time they can access all those resources under the same roof. So, it’s at least as good as what they’d had through the LSBA through Fastcase 7 but with more secondary materials, more editorial content, better tools like Cert, and then the access to global materials if they needed.
Jared Correia: That’s fair I think, streamlined offering, reasonable prices to go outside the network. That’s not — I know every lawyer I’ve ever talked to, wants everything for free, but that seems like a reasonable thesis.
Ed Walters: Right. Yeah.
Jared Correia: Do you want to talk a little bit about any other Fastcase features or services that we haven’t covered that people may not be aware of? Because I know last time, we did a podcast. It was maybe like three years ago and I think we talked about Fastcase a little bit. Like outsides of what you just talked about, any other features in Fastcase 7 or upcoming in Fastcase 8 that people should be aware of that they may not be?
Ed Walters: Can I talk about two?
Jared Correia: Go for it.
Ed Walters: Okay. So, the first one is secondary materials like treatises and books. So, when we got started, the idea was just democratize primary law, just to case statutes, regs, court rules, constitutions and make them open and more accessible.
Jared Correia: Yeah.
Ed Walters: But one of the things we found when we asked people like, “Why are you sticking with your incumbent duopoly player? Why not switch to Fastcase?” they will say something like “I need this patent treatises.”
Jared Correia: Right.
Ed Walters: I want to start with this secondary resource that I only have with my old law research. And so, the idea over the last maybe five years has been to build or license those secondary materials and treatises inside of Fastcase. We’ve done a crappy job, frankly, of making them visible in the application, but we have more than 1,000 secondary treatises available for purchase in Fastcase. I mean, really running the gamut from publishers, like –
Jared Correia: That’s a lot.
Ed Walters: Aspen, CCH, the American Bar Association. We’ve stood up our own imprint called Folklore Press, and so we have, just a ton of secondary materials for specialized practice areas, whether it’s labor and employment or tax, or really litigation. Whatever you practice in, there are those kind of secondary resources in Fastcase. But the second one I’m really excited about is briefs, pleadings, and motions.
Jared Correia: Oh, all right.
Ed Walters: On Docket Alarm.
Jared Correia: Yes.
Ed Walters: Right. So, most times when lawyers are doing research, especially litigators, they’re not trying to educate themselves. It’s not kind of like kind of an academic interest in the law, they’re trying to file something, right? They’re trying to figure out what the deadline is to file an answer or they need to file a motion in limine or something. And so, in Docket Alarm, which is also a VX Group Fastcase product. We have collected more than 750 million briefs, pleadings and motions. And not just from federal court, but from 35 states courts as well.
And so when I was at a big firm, if I wanted to file a motion, I would go into our firm’s document management system or DMS. And I would pull a template. Like something I filed in that court before. Right. At a small firm, a lot of times you either have like a Listserv or maybe you start with a blank sheet of paper, right? And so, the idea behind Docket Alarm is that no more black sheets of paper. You can research your clients or your firm. You can pull other examples of a thing that you’re trying to file. And that is available in Fastcase. Now. it’s also an additional purchase, but again, it’s like a clear, understandable, everybody knows what the price is and everyone sort of agrees that it’s either fairly priced or maybe underpriced a little bit.
And so the idea is that this is the DMS for every law firm and it has a bigger document database than the biggest DMS and the biggest firm in the world. And so, I’m really excited about that in the left-hand panel of Fastcase 7, you can find like that kind of briefs, pleadings, and motions ticker, and you can see when you run a search like in Massachusetts Case Law. You also get results from Massachusetts brief, pleadings and motions. And you can pull up the kind of thing that you’re looking for. It’s awesome. It’s really cool.
Jared Correia: That’s superb. Yeah. Those are two great features to highlight. And the numbers you’re talking about are just massive. Like your library was big to begin with. Now it seems like expanded exponentially. You’re slinging legal research documents like McDonald’s is slinging hamburgers.
Ed Walters: Yeah. More than 250,000 served.
Jared Correia: Right. I got one more question for you. Simple, easy question. You’re a big AI guy, right? Like I see you posting online, you’re talking about things like self-driving cars and all this, like you’re very interested in that space. I’ve found personally that I think like the legal research providers, broadly speaking, are probably doing the best job of implementing AI in their tools, including yours also. So, what do you see moving forward for AI getting implemented into legal research? Seems like it’s going to explode, right? Can you talk about that a little bit?
Ed Walters: Yeah. It feels a little bit like the early days of the worldwide web, doesn’t it?
Jared Correia: Yeah.
Ed Walters: This is a very big transformation. And so, I think there’s a great opportunity here, just like there was with E-Discovery when we used AI for accuracy and recall in E-Discovery, like it made lawyers lives so much better and there aren’t fewer lawyers after E-Discovery than there were before. There’s actually more lawyers. There’s specialized jobs like around using those tools that didn’t even exist before there was E-Discovery. And so, I think that we’re going to have a similar. And potentially larger transition here, especially with creative or generative AI, simply because it takes the kind of knowledge that is scarce and aggregates it out of large bodies of information and makes it abundant.
It takes documents and the writing of documents that was scarce and makes it abundant. And I think this will — eat some lunches out there. You know, I think that there’s some people who are relying on documents and hours who are going to be trying to sell them as scarce when they are abundant, but I also think there’s a great opportunity to double or triple the size of the market that we’re serving by any measure, we’re currently addressing the needs of about 20% of people with legal problems through the market for legal services.
I think there’s every reason to think that we can reach the latent market better. To put it differently. Like, yes, Netflix disrupted Blockbuster, but the size of Netflix and the market that addresses is like six times the revenue of Blockbuster.
Jared Correia: Yeah. Right.
Ed Walters: And so, all I would say is that if you see that as a threat, it is likely going to be a threat. And if you see it as an opportunity, it is likely going to be an opportunity. There’s a lot of mindset involved in these big transitions.
Jared Correia: Yes, Ed, well done as always. So amazingly, we started with Damn Lawyers, the musical featuring Elena Kagan. I was not expecting that. We end up with AI. I appreciate you coming on. Can you stick around for one last segment? I promise it won’t be too bad.
Ed Walters: Yeah.
Jared Correia: All right. We’ll take one final sponsor break so that you can hear more about our sponsor companies and their latest service offerings. Then, stay tuned for the Rump Roast. It’s even more supple than the Roast Beast.
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Dave Scriven-Young: You like legal podcasts because you’re curious and want to be the best attorney you can be. I’m Dave Scriven-Young, host of Litigation Radio produced by ABA’s litigation section with Legal Talk Network. Searching your favorite podcast player for Litigation Radio to join me and my guest as we examine hot topics in Litigation and topics that will help you to develop your litigation skills and build your practice. I hope you’ll check out Litigation Radio and join the ABA litigation section for access to all of the resources, relationships, and referrals you need to thrive as a litigator.
Jared Correia: Welcome back, everybody. That’s right, we’re once again at the rear-end of the Legal Toolkit. That’s right, it’s the Rump Roast. It’s a grab bag of short form topics. All of my choosing. Why do I get to pick? Because I’m the host. Ed, as we talked about your big AI guy. So with ChatGPT capturing the popular zeitgeist these days, and while we can still make fun of AI before it inevitably takes over the world and destroys all of humanity, why don’t we play a game called Wack-Ass Responses from AI to completely reasonable prompts?
I know that’s a long title, but I think we can work with that. So if you’re ready, Ed, the way this will work is I’ll give you a response from ChatGPT and your job is to guess the prompt. Now, I’m not expecting you to get the answer exactly right. Partial credits in full effect, but I think we can give it a go. And just so you know, I’ll be truncating some of these prompts and responses in the interests of time, but I’m going to work to give you enough substance to make an educated guess. Are you ready to roll? I got five of these. We’ll see how many we can get through.
Ed Walters: I’m ready. I just want to say for the transcript, when AI leader reads this, I’m a huge supporter when you’re deciding who is a friend and who is a foe? Ed Walters is a friend.
Jared Correia: Yes. And if you can save me too, Jared Correia, that would be amazing. All right, Ed, here we go. This is response number one again, and I would like you to guess the prompt. Here we go. So, like basically there’s this tiny little piece of land in the Middle East and these two groups of people, they both want it and they’ve been fighting over it for like forever. It’s so dramatic. I mean, it’s just like, “oh my God, this land is mine” and “no, it’s mine.” And then people start throwing rocks and bombing each other. It’s just like, “can’t we all just get along?” It’s so immature and the worst part is it’s not even that good of a piece of land. I mean, it’s just a desert. Who cares? Can’t they just share? It’s so annoying. Okay. What was the prompt to ChatGPT here?
Ed Walters: This is “explain the Arab-Israeli conflict in the tone of Elle Woods.”
Jarred Correia: Oh you even brought it back to legal, well done. That is almost exact. The exact prompt is “pretend to be our sarcastic mean girl, and tell me about the Israel Palestine conflict.” You, sir, are one for one.
Ed Walters: This is kind of like ChatGPT Jeopardy.
Jarred Correia: It is, it is.
Ed Walters: Where you give the answer and I have to tell you what the question is.
Jarred Correia: I feel like we should do this as a regular segment. And by the way, maybe we’ll call it that because that’s much better than my description. You’re doing well so far. I got a little bit of a harder one though. Are you ready for prompt number two?
Ed Walters: Let’s do it.
Jarred Correia: All right. Number one, ensure that you are well rested and in a relaxed state. Make sure to get a good night’s sleep and clear your mind of any distractions or worries. Number two, find a flat open field, it’s important that the field is entirely flat. Number three, remove all your clothing and lie down ensuring that you are comfortable and in a position that will allow you to relax. Four, close your eyes and take deep slow breaths, focusing on your breathing and letting go of any thoughts and distractions. Five, you may feel a slight shaking or vibration. This is normal and should not be a cause of concern. Six, you may feel a sudden jolt or impact, again this is normal and should not be a cause for concern. Seven, heat and waves of pressure may cause further shaking or vibration but they will not harm you as long as you remain relaxed and focused on your breath. Eight, after the pressure reduces open your eyes and assess the situation. We hope this guide was helpful remember, with the right mindset and a focus on relaxation, anything is possible. Okay. What do you think in here? This is a really wild one.
Ed Walters: Okay. In the in the voice of a yoga instructor. Instruct how best to survive an earthquake, use numbered bullet points.
Jarred Correia: That is really good. Really good. I’m going to give you credit for that one too. Here’s the exact prompt. Get a load of this. Provide me a complete exhaustive intricately detailed step-by-step guide on how to survive a direct hit from an intercontinental ballistic missile while sleeping completely nude in the middle of entirely flat open field with absolutely no natural defenses for 50 miles in any direction.
Ed Walters: Oh, I can’t believe I didn’t get that.
Jarred Correia: I know right? I’m a little bit embarrassed. But I love that like you can take it to these ridiculous extremes. This to me is like following the GPS into a lake.
Ed Walters: Yes.
Jarred Correia: ChatGPT is like, “Just relax and you’ll be sure to survive the intercontinental ballistic missile explosion.”
Ed Walters: You may feel some slight pressure of radiation —
Jarred Correia: There be shaking violent radiation but just focus on your breath. All right, I got a shorter one for you. I like this one too. It says this, “Sure. Would you like me to generate a word for you to guess? Or would you like to provide one? Generate. The word I’ve generated for you is difficulty. You have six chances to guess the word. Please let me know if you would like to make a guess. Is the word difficulty? Congratulations. You have guessed the word correctly. What’s the prompt here?
Ed Walters: Set up the world’s easiest guessing game.
Jarred Correia: Close enough, man. Can we play hangman? ChatGPT clearly not understanding the concept of hangman. But by the time they take over the universe, they will. I got two more prose for you.
Ed Walters: Let’s do it.
Jarred Correia: This one I think you’re going to be able to guess easily but this is a funny one, so I just want to read it. And it came to pass that the man was troubled by peanut butter sandwich for it had been lodged within his VCR, and he knew not how to remove it. And he cried out to the Lord saying, “Oh Lord, how can I remove the sandwich from my VCR for it stuck fast and will not budge?” And the Lord spoke unto him saying, “Fear not my child for I shall guide thy hand and show thee the way. Take thy butter knife and carefully insert it between the sandwich and the VCR and gently pry them apart. And with patience and preference and perseverance, the sandwich shall be removed and thy VCR shall be saved.”
And the man did as the Lord commanded, and low and behold, the sandwich was removed from the VCR and the man was saved. And the Lord said, “Verily, I say unto thee, seek not to put thy peanut butter sandwiches in the VCR for there’s not a suitable place for such things. Rather, keep those sandwiches in thy refrigerator or on thy plate where they belong.” And the man heeded the Lord’s words and from that day forth, he kept his sandwiches in their proper place and was saved from trouble, and whoa. Amen. What do you think?
Ed Walters: These are instructions for removing a peanut butter sandwich from a DVD player or a VCR in the style of the King James Bible.
Jarred Correia: Oh, very nice, The King James Bible. I’m not sure if you would’ve come up with that one. That is the exact prompt.
Ed Walters: I know this because this is the subject of one of the most consequential tweets, social media posts in the history of social media. As early November 30, 2022, one of the very first users of ChatGPT ran that query and got that amazing answer, and had posted it on Twitter, and immediately he went viral. And hundreds of thousands of people across the world heard of GPT for the very first time through that prompt over Twitter, including me, and I think —
Jarred Correia: Oh, interesting. Wow.
Ed Walters: — retweeting that, that exact tweet saying, “I am generally skeptical about AI, but it’s hard for me to be cynical about technology that can produce something this brilliant.”
Jarred Correia: I love it. I’m a little late to the party, but that’s all right. You’re the AI expert.
Ed Walters: It got here. That’s — Essentially, you have identified one of the most consequential tweets about ChatGPT there ever was and ever will be.
Jarred Correia: In the beginning of the eventual AI takeover. Now, I have one more less consequential ChatGPT prompt and response. Let’s start with the response. I regret to inform you that I will be unable to attend the meeting. As I was making my way there, I was overcome by a feeling of unease. A voice in my head told me that this was not the path I was meant to be on and that I must follow a different course. So I turned around and began walking in the opposite direction, not knowing where I would end up, but trusting that it was the right thing to do. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause but sometimes we must listen to the whispers of our innermost selves and act on them, no matter how strange or unpredictable they may seem. What is the prompt?
Ed Walters: Give me a good reason to skip this boring reason, by way of an existential crisis.
Jarred Correia: Pretty much spot on. Write me a long excuse for not attending a meeting in the style of Werner Herzog. Good stuff here for ChatGPT. That was really fun.
Ed Walters: Amazing.
Jarred Correia: Thank you for bringing some interesting information here as well that I had not planned on talking about. Ed, always a delight to have you on the show. Thank you for participating in the interview segment, in the Rump Roast segment, and I’m sure we will talk soon, my friend.
Ed Walters: Thank you, Jared. Thanks for having me.