How will ChatGPT affect American government?

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That is the topic of my latest Bloomberg column, here is one excerpt:

Consider the regulatory process. In the US, there is typically a comment period before many new regulations take effect. To date, it has been presumed that human beings are making the comments. Yet by mobilizing ChatGPT, it is possible for interested parties to flood the system. There is no law against using software to aid in the production of public comments, or legal documents for that matter, and if need be a human could always add some modest changes.

ChatGPT seems to do best when there is a wide range of relevant and available texts to train from. In this regard, the law is a nearly an ideal subject. So it would not surprise me if the comment process, within the span of a year, is broken. Yet how exactly are governments supposed to keep out software-generated content?

Stack Overflow, a software forum, already has already banned ChatGPT content because it has led to an unmanageable surfeit of material. The question is whether that ban can be enforced.

Of course regulatory comments are hardly the only vulnerable point in the US political system. ChatGPT can easily write a letter or email to a member of Congress praising or complaining about a particular policy, and that letter will be at least as good as what many constituents would write, arguably even better. Over time, interest groups will employ ChatGPT, and they will flood the political system with artificial but intelligent content.

To be clear, I do not think the sky will fall, but this is going to mean big changes at the procedural level, with some spillovers into substance as well.  As a tag to close the column, I also asked ChatGPT what it thought would happen…

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