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Digital Detective: ChatGPT’s Role in Forensic Science

Written by: Alan Baker 29th January, 2024

ChatGPT’s Potential in Forensics:

ChatGPT in forensic science has potential, from drafting court reports to shorten decision times to helping identify research topics.

Studies have shown that ChatGPT can produce formal research papers that often pass traditional plagiarism checks with a high originality score. Even when AI-output checkers identify some of the generated abstracts, there is a debate about the mathematical likelihood of this ability.

ChatGPT could streamline article selection for forensic researchers, saving time for more focused research and methodology work.

Additionally, ChatGPT might lead to the creation of virtual forensic assistants, helping victims, lawyers, and judges manage forensic and legal data, and assisting in complex cases. In the medical field, experts suggest using it to generate automated clinical records, summarising key information such as symptoms, drug interactions, and diagnoses, and enhancing communication between patients and doctors.

ChatGPT may boost interest in self-directed learning, particularly in remote settings like those during the COVID-19 pandemic. AI’s role in education, mirroring healthcare, could be crucial for increasing precision and efficiency across various system aspects.

ChatGPT in Forensic Science – Limitations:

Besides their anticipated uses, ChatGPT and other AI tools in the UK come with various limitations, legal and ethical concerns. These include credibility issues, plagiarism risks, authorship queries, potential copyright violations, medico-legal complexities, and content bias risks. Unethical AI use could lead to fake images in research or false court evidence, potentially biasing judicial decisions. This is crucial, considering the “seductive allure” that certain images, like neuroimaging, can have on court decisions. Studies have shown that juries and judges might overestimate the reliability of neuroscientific evidence.

Beyond these ethical concerns, there’s the issue of students using AI to complete their assignments. Additionally, the value of AI in research is debatable, as it may simply replicate existing work without contributing novel, human-like scientific insights. Consequently, some scientists are against using chatbots for research. Therefore, those utilising language models must recognise these limitations and ensure the accuracy and dependability of their outputs. Addressing potential biases in AI-influenced decisions, trained on specific datasets like drug tables or previous rulings, is crucial.

Language models like ChatGPT can’t yet replace human writers, lacking comparable understanding and specialised knowledge. The term “hallucination” is used to describe a false response from ChatGPT, which can be particularly risky if not correctly identified by certified forensic experts. In this context, education is more crucial than ever.

Employing ChatGPT in forensic writing poses ethical and legal challenges, discussed here with future developments.