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By Matthew Stephenson
First published on the Global Anticorruption Blog

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the latest Matthew Stephenson, professor of law at Harvard Law School, tested ChatGPT’s ability to generate something readable, based on some common questions around anti-corruption practices. The results, he writes, show that the AI text generator may indeed be able to play a helpful role in anti-corruption work around the world.

Read the article below, as published on the Global Anticorruption Blog.

I’m not much of a tech person, but even I have been following with great interest the rapid advances in artificial intelligence (AI), particularly the buzz around ChatGPT, Open AI’s natural language chat bot. As most readers are probably aware, ChatGPT has an uncanny ability to generate decent (if rather formulaic) responses to an extraordinary variety of inquiries. It can respond to follow up questions, make modifications upon request, and (I am told) write and revise computer code.

I’ve only played around with it a little, and I haven’t come close to exploring everything it can do, but I thought I’d see what sorts of content in generates when asked some basic questions about the fight against corruption. This started as a kind of just-for-fun experimentation, but I actually think the content that ChatGPT generates on this topic might be useful grounds for further reflection from the anti-corruption community, both about how this tool might be helpful in our work, and about how the content this tool generates might prompt us to strive to make our own work more creative, distinctive, and forward-looking.

In the remainder of this blog post, I’ll provide — without any editing — the responses that ChatGPT provided to the following three queries/requests:

  • How can we fight public corruption effectively?
  • How can we generate the political will to fight corruption?
  • Write a keynote address for the International Anti-Corruption Conference.

Here are the AI-generated responses to each:

How can we fight public corruption effectively?

ChatGPT’s response:

There are several ways to fight public corruption effectively:

  • Strengthen legal frameworks: This can include passing laws that criminalise corruption and establishing robust regulatory bodies to enforce these laws.
  • Improve transparency and accountability: This can be achieved through measures such as open government initiatives, which increase the availability of information about government activities and decisions, and through the use of technology, such as e-government systems, which can improve the efficiency and transparency of government operations.
  • Educate and engage citizens: It is important to raise awareness about the negative impacts of corruption and to encourage active participation in the fight against it. This can include things like media campaigns, educational programs, and citizen oversight groups.
  • Support civil society organisations: Non-profit organisations and advocacy groups can play a critical role in exposing corruption and promoting transparency and accountability. It is important to support these organisations and create an enabling environment for their work.
  • Encourage international cooperation: Combating corruption often requires cross-border cooperation, such as the exchange of information and assistance with investigations. It is important to support international efforts to combat corruption, such as the United Nations Convention against Corruption.
  • Foster a culture of integrity: Building a culture of integrity within government institutions and society as a whole is critical to reducing the incidence of corruption. This can be achieved through things like ethical training programs and strong leadership that sets a good example.

How can we generate the political will to fight corruption?

ChatGPT’s response:

Generating political will to fight corruption can be challenging, as it often requires politicians and government officials to take action against practices that may benefit them personally. Here are some strategies that can help generate political will to combat corruption:

  • Raise public awareness and mobilise public support: The more aware and concerned the public is about corruption, the more pressure politicians will feel to take action. Media campaigns, educational programs, and grassroots advocacy efforts can help raise awareness and mobilise public support for anti-corruption efforts.
  • Engage with political leaders: It is important to engage directly with political leaders and policymakers to build support for anti-corruption efforts. This can include things like meetings, lobbying, and building coalitions with other organisations.
  • Use data and research to make a strong case: By gathering and presenting data on the negative impacts of corruption, it is possible to build a strong case for action. This can include things like economic analyses of the costs of corruption and studies on the social and political consequences of corruption.
  • Support political candidates who are committed to fighting corruption: One way to generate political will is to support political candidates who are committed to fighting corruption and promoting transparency and accountability. This can include things like volunteering for campaigns and donating to candidates who share these values.
  • Use international pressure: International organisations and foreign governments can sometimes exert pressure on governments to take action against corruption. This can include things like sanctions, aid conditionality, and other forms of pressure.
  • Use legal remedies: In some cases, it may be possible to use legal remedies to generate political will to combat corruption. This can include things like filing lawsuits or using the judicial system to challenge corrupt practices.

Write a keynote address for the International Anti-Corruption Conference.

ChatGPT’s response:

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am honoured to address you today at this International Anti-Corruption Conference. Corruption is a problem that knows no borders, and it is a problem that affects us all. It undermines trust in government, stifles economic growth, and exacerbates social and economic inequality.

But here’s the good news: we can do something about it. We can join together in a global effort to combat corruption and build more transparent and accountable societies.

This conference is an important step in that direction. By coming together and sharing our experiences, knowledge, and ideas, we can learn from one another and find new and innovative ways to address this pervasive problem.

We have made progress in recent years, with the adoption of international conventions and the establishment of organisations such as the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and the United Nations Convention against Corruption. These efforts have helped to expose and punish corrupt practices and have contributed to a greater awareness of the negative impacts of corruption.

But we must do more. We must continue to work together to strengthen legal frameworks and institutions, improve transparency and accountability, and educate and engage citizens in the fight against corruption.

It will not be easy. Corruption is a deeply entrenched problem, and it will require sustained and coordinated action at all levels of society. But I am confident that with our collective efforts, we can make a real difference.

So let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work. Let’s use this conference as a starting point for a global movement to combat corruption and build more just and honest societies.

Thank you.

I don’t have a lot to say about this for now. I’m sure that the anti-corruption community is going to need to grapple with the implications of the AI revolution in much the same way that virtually every other field is going to need to do so over the coming years. In some ways tools like ChatGPT — which I gather from my tech-savvy friends is going to seem like a really crude first step in a few years’ time — will help make our work more efficient, allowing the redeployment of highly-educated human beings away from tasks like basic research and drafting boilerplate language; it may also be extremely helpful in pulling together various strands of diffused information and expertise, particularly given the ability of these systems (not employed in my simple queries above) to respond to follow-up questions and requests.

At the same time, these tools can and should put more pressure on us to use our human talents and creativity to make distinctive contributions. It’s kind of an open secret (even something of a running joke) in the anti-corruption community that all too often we fall into the pattern of repeating the same familiar bromides and cliches and generic observations and prescriptions. In short, far too many briefs, speeches, and reports sound as if they were written by a computer — and in the not-too-distant future, they really could be. Perhaps going forward, whenever we are asked to speak or write about the fight against corruption, we should ask ourselves whether we are saying something distinct from — and newer or better or more interesting than — what an AI system like ChatGPT would generate.