DoNotPay’s AI lawyer stunt cancelled after multiple state bar associations object

Last week DoNotPay(Opens in a new window) This was announced by CEO Joshua Browder The company’s AI chatbot would represent a defendant in a US court(Opens in a new window), marking the first use of artificial intelligence for this purpose. Now the experiment has been called off, and Browder says he received objections from several state bar associations.

“Bad news: after receiving threats from prosecutors, if I bring a robot lawyer into a physical courtroom, they will likely put me in jail for 6 months.” Broder tweeted Thursday.(Opens in a new window) “DoNotPay Postpones Our Trial and Upholds Consumer Rights.”

The plan was to use DoNotPay’s AI in one acceleration case(Opens in a new window) Hearing is scheduled for February 22nd. The chatbot runs on a smartphone and listens to what is being said in court before giving instructions to the anonymous defendant over a headset.

However, numerous prosecutors did not respond well to DoNotPay’s proposed stunt, writing to Browder to warn him that doing so might break the law. In particular, Browder could be prosecuted for tortious wrongdoing, a crime that could land him in some states for six months behind bars.

Faced with this, Browder chose to pull the plug on the entire experiment rather than risk jail time.

“Even if it didn’t happen, the threat of criminal charges was enough to warrant it being dropped,” Browder told NPR(Opens in a new window).

It’s probably for the best. DoNotPay’s legal chatbot was developed using OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which while undoubtedly mature for an AI chatbot, still has significant shortcomings. Relying on it for important things is not the best idea at this stage.


OpenAI’s chatbot ChatGPT is amazing, creative and completely bogus

This near miss with the wrong side of the law also seems to be causing DoNotPay to re-evaluate its products. Previously, the company offered computer-generated legal documents on a variety of subjects, covering everything from child support to marriage annulment. Browder has now announced that DoNotPay will only deal with consumer law cases going forward and will remove all other services “effective immediately”.

“Unlike courtroom dramas [consumer rights] Cases can be processed online, are simple and underserved”, Broder tweeted(Opens in a new window). “I have come to realize that non-consumer legal products (e.g. defamation letters, divorce settlements and others) that are very underused are a distraction.”

The CEO also explained that the employees are currently work 18-hour days(Opens in a new window) to improve the DoNotPay user experience, which doesn’t seem to boast of anything.

Although DoNotPay’s AI experiment would have applied AI to a new area, it would not have been the first use of artificial intelligence in a US courtroom(Opens in a new window). States like New York and California have previously used the Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions (COMPAS) AI tool to assess whether someone is likely to reoffend and factor that into bail determinations.

Unfortunately, even this AI software is flawed. A 2016 study by ProPublica(Opens in a new window) found that COMPAS was more likely to misclassify black defendants as higher risk, while also misclassifying white defendants as lower risk.

Artificial intelligence may seem like an exciting technology with many useful purposes. But some things are best left to the people. DoNotPay’s AI lawyer stunt cancelled after multiple state bar associations object

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