The AI ​​’bot’ lawyer will not argue in court after jail threats

An AI-powered “robot” lawyer is set to be the first of its kind to help a defendant fight a traffic violation in court next month. But the experiment was canceled after “state bar representatives” threatened the man behind the company that created the chatbot with jail time.

Joshua Browder, CEO of DoNotPay, tweeted on Wednesday that his company is “delaying our case and sticking to consumer rights.”

Browder also said he would not take the company’s bot attorney to court. The AI ​​creation — running on a smartphone, listening to court arguments and crafting responses for the defendant — is designed to tell the defendant what to say in real time, through headphones.

But according to Browder, the prospect of bringing the first robot lawyer into a courtroom isn’t worth the risk of spending six months in jail.

The backlash from lawyers against Browder’s proposed stunt suggests that those in the legal profession have concerns about AI-powered chatbots usurping their jobs.

His first case was due to be heard by an Amnesty International lawyer on February 22, as was Browder announce on Twitter.

“On February 22nd at 1.30pm, history will be made. For the first time ever, a bot will represent someone in a US courtroom. DoNotPay AI will whisper in someone’s ear exactly what they have to say. We’ll publish the results and share more after this happens. Good luck.” he tweeted.

He did not disclose the name of the client or the court.

DoNotPay has already used form messages and AI-generated chatbots to help people secure refunds for on-board Wifi that didn’t work, as well as lower bills and dispute parking tickets, according to Browder. He added that the company relied on these artificial intelligence templates to win more than two million customer service disputes and court cases on behalf of individuals against institutions and organizations.

It has raised $27.7 million from technology-focused venture capital firms, including Andreessen Horowitz and Crew Capital.

“In the past year, AI technology has really advanced and allowed us to go back and forth in real time with companies and governments,” he told CBS MoneyWatch about recent developments. We spoke live [with companies and customer service reps] to lower bills with businesses; And what we’re going to do next month is try to use technology in the courtroom for the first time.”

DoNotPay said it would have covered any fines if the bot had lost the case.

Legal in some courtrooms but not most

Some courts allow defendants to wear hearing aids, and some versions have Bluetooth. This is how Browder determined that the DoNotPay technology could be used legally in this case.

However, the technology that powers DoNotPay is not legal in most courtrooms. Some states require all parties to agree to the recording, which eliminates the possibility of a robotic lawyer entering many courtrooms. Of the 300 cases DoNotPay has considered to prosecute the bot lawyer, Browder said, only two are viable.

“It’s within the letter of the law,” Browder said, “but I don’t think anyone could imagine that would happen.” “It’s not in the spirit of the law, but we’re trying to move things forward and a lot of people can’t afford legal aid. If these cases are successful, that will encourage more courts to change their rules.”

Lawyers ‘won’t support this’

The ultimate goal of “robot” lawyers, according to Browder, is to democratize legal representation by making it free to those who can’t afford it, and in some cases eliminating the need for expensive attorneys.

“What we’re trying to do is automate consumer rights,” Browder said. “New technologies usually fall into the hands of the big companies first, and our goal is to get them into the hands of the people first.”

But since the technology is illegal in many courtrooms, he doesn’t expect to be able to commercialize the product anytime soon. When he initially announced that DoNotPay’s bot would appear in court, the lawyers threatened him and told him he would go to jail, he told CBS MoneyWatch.

“There are a lot of lawyers and bar associations out there that aren’t going to support that,” Browder said.

ChatGPT mode through law school

Browder wants to arm individuals with the same tools that large corporations usually have access to, but are out of reach for those without deep resources.

ChatGPT, the AI-powered chatbot, has exploded in popularity lately due to its ability to publish coherent articles on wide-ranging topics in less than a minute. The technology attracted investor interest, with Microsoft on Monday declaring A multi-billion dollar investment in parent company OpenAI.

But Browder highlighted its shortcomings and, in some cases, lack of development.

“ChatGPT is very good at having conversations, but it’s terrible at knowing the law. We’ve had to retrain these AI systems to know the law,” Browder said. “The AI ​​is a high school student, and we’re sending it to law school.”

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