AI Lawyer May Force Some to Hang up Their Shingles:
Jacquelyne Germain over at Smithsonian informs us that “The First ‘A.I. Lawyer’ Will Help Defendants Fight Speeding Tickets.”
On February 22 of this year, for the first time, a generative AI system will help defendants in the courtroom. The two defendants will wear Bluetooth earpieces to receive instructions from the system, made by DoNotPay. It will be fed audio of the court proceedings and it will respond with legal arguments.
DoNotPay’s system is using GPT-J, an open source language model by EleutherAI, to argue the case. In addition to the two parking ticket cases, DoNotPay may use its technology in an eviction case.
A.I. technology is already prevalent in the legal profession, but not like this. Joshua Browder, DoNotPay’s founder, argues that this techonology will make legal represenation affordable for the masses. He notes that in finding these two cases he looked for a venue where using AI was “not outright illegal.”
The company, founded in 2015, has previously used GPT technology to appeal bank fees and negotiate interest rates on loans.
But Wait! Late Breaking News!
It turns out that they have been stopped, as Bobby Allyn tells us in A robot was scheduled to argue in court, then came the jail threats, over at NPR. Browder received threats of prosecution and jail time for deploying the system. The legal argument given by state bar officials included that his using it consttituted an “unauthorized practice of law.” Why is it not surprisiung that lawyers would say this?
According to the NPR article, DoNotPay is pivoting to helping people deal with expensive medical bills and with credit reporting agencies. At least until, we suppose, the American Medical Association and the people over at Equifax complain.
In Browder’s own words:
Good morning! Bad news: after receiving threats from State Bar prosecutors, it seems likely they will put me in jail for 6 months if I follow through with bringing a robot lawyer into a physical courtroom. DoNotPay is postponing our court case and sticking to consumer rights:
— Joshua Browder (@jbrowder1) January 25, 2023