Robots were set to argue in court, but prison threats came

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Robots were set to argue in court, but prison threats came


Joshua Browder’s artificial intelligence startup DoNotPay had planned to have an AI-powered bot speak on behalf of defendants in a lawsuit next month, but threats from the bar association forced him to abandon his efforts, he said. says.

Courtesy of Joshua Browder


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Courtesy of Joshua Browder


Joshua Browder’s artificial intelligence startup DoNotPay had planned to have an AI-powered bot speak on behalf of defendants in a lawsuit next month, but threats from the bar association forced him to abandon his efforts, he said. says.

Courtesy of Joshua Browder

A British man who planned to use a ‘robot lawyer’ to help defendants fight traffic tickets called off the effort after being threatened with possible prosecution and a possible prison sentence. rice field.

Joshua Browder, CEO of New York-based startup DoNotPay, has created a way for people challenging traffic tickets to use courtroom arguments generated by artificial intelligence.

Those who challenge the speeding ticket, Smart glasses that record court proceedings and direct responses from tiny speakers into the defendant’s ear. The system was powered by several leading AI text generators such as ChatGPT and DaVinci.

First-ever AI-powered legal defense was set to take place in California It’s February 22nd and it’s no longer there.

According to Browder, as the rumors spread, concerns began to swirl among various state bar officials. He says angry letters began pouring in.

“Multiple state bar associations have threatened us,” Browder said. “Some even said they could be referred to the District Attorney’s Office and prosecuted and imprisoned.”

In particular, Browder said one state bar official said that in some states, unauthorized legal action is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in county jail.

“Even if that didn’t happen, the threat of criminal charges was enough to make me give it up.” I thought.”

State bar associations license and regulate attorneys as a means of ensuring that people have attorneys who understand the law.

Browder declined to say, among other things, which state bar association sent the letter or who threatened possible prosecution, and his startup, DoNotPay, has filed multiple lawsuits, including in California. said it was being investigated by the state bar association.

In a statement, George Cardona, chief trial attorney for the California Bar Association, said the organization has a duty to investigate cases of possible unauthorized legal activity.

“We routinely inform potential offenders that they may face prosecution in civil or criminal court, which is entirely up to law enforcement,” Cardona said in a statement. .

Leah Wilson, executive director of the California Bar Association, told NPR that there has been a recent spike in low-quality legal representation and that the association has launched a new crackdown, but DoNotPay is part of the investigation. He did not comment on whether it was

“In 2023, well-funded and unregulated providers will flood the market for low-cost legal representation, asking if and how these services should be regulated. Questions are being raised again,” Wilson said.

Even if the use of AI in court was not challenged, some observers Asked Just how effective DoNotPay’s AI tools are for those in need of legal services, trying to use their basic functionality can also yield poor results.

Staying away from AI legal defenses amid threats

Browder said instead of trying to help people accused of traffic violations use AI in court, DoNotPay will help people deal with high medical bills, unnecessary subscriptions and credit bureau issues. He said he would do training focused on helping.

Browder also hopes this isn’t the end of AI’s path in the courtroom.

“The truth is most people can’t afford a lawyer,” he said. “This shifted the balance, allowing people to use tools like his ChatGPT in court, which could have allowed them to win lawsuits.”

The future of robot lawyers faces uncertainty for another reason, much simpler than the question of the existence of bar associations: court rules.

Recording audio during live legal proceedings is not permitted in federal courts and is often prohibited in state courts. The AI ​​tool developed by DoNotPay has not been fully tested in a real courtroom, so the audio of the discussion must be recorded for the machine learning algorithm to generate a response.

“I think calling this tool a ‘robot lawyer’ really pissed off a lot of lawyers,” Browder said. “But I think they’re looking at the trees and losing the forest. The technology is advancing and the court rules are very outdated.”

DoNotPay has raised $28 million, including funding from prominent venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

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