As it has rocketed to some 100 million active users in record time, ChatGPT is provoking conversations about the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in drafting written materials such as student exams, news articles, legal pleadings, poems, and more. The chatbot, developed by OpenAI, relies on a large language model (LLM) to respond to user-submitted requests, or “prompts” as they are known. It is an example of generative AI, a technology that upends our understanding of who creates written materials and how they do it, challenging what it means to create, analyze, and express ideas.
Rulemaking by federal agencies is a very text-intensive process, both in terms of writing the rules themselves, which express not only the law but also the agencies’ rationales for their regulatory choices, as well as public comments which arrive almost exclusively in the form of text. How might generative AI intersect with rulemaking? In this essay, we work through some use cases for generative AI in the rulemaking process, for better and for worse, both for the public and federal agencies.