Arbel & Becher paper on the pluses and minuses of consumers using smart readers for form contracts

Yonathan A. Arbel of Alabama and Samuel Becher of the Victoria University of Wellington have written How Smart are Smart Readers? LLMs and the Future of the No-Reading Problem. Here’s the abstract:

Large Language Models (LLMs) can be used to summarize and simplify complex texts. In this study, we investigate the extent to which state-of-the-art models can be reliably employed as ‘smart readers’: applications that empower consumers to tackle lengthy, difficult-to-read, and inaccessible standard form contracts and privacy policies. Our analysis reveals that smart readers (1) reduce the length of contracts by 49%; (2) improve text readability, converting college-level texts to texts readable by fifth-grade students; and (3) do so without compromising too much of the essential information in the original contracts. However, smart readers are not flawless. They sometimes miscommunicate legal terminology and occasionally present information in a misleading or erroneous manner. Such issues prevent smart readers from replacing the advice of a qualified lawyer. However, for the large mass of daily transactions where consumers would not consider using a lawyer, current-generation smart readers could be an effective tool. In the context of these transactions, we conclude that current generation smart readers have arrived and that their arrival invites an academic and policy paradigm change.

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