A groundbreaking legal milestone is set to occur next month as an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system developed by DoNotPay is set to defend a speeding ticket in court. This marks the first time an AI has been used to defend a case in court, and could potentially signify the beginning of a new era in legal proceedings. The details of the court location and the identity of the defendant are being kept confidential for the time being.
DoNotPay, which bills itself as the world’s first “robot lawyer”, aims to help people “fight corporations, beat bureaucracy and sue anyone at the press of a button”. The company was founded in 2015 by Joshua Browder, a computer scientist and Stanford University graduate. It initially began as a chatbot providing legal advice to consumers dealing with late fees or fines. However, the ultimate goal of the company is to fully replace human lawyers with the AI system, in order to save defendants money.
Browder, who came up with the idea for DoNotPay while accumulating parking tickets that he couldn’t afford to pay, believes that many lawyers charge exorbitant amounts of money for tasks that could easily be automated. “It’s all about language, and that’s what lawyers charge hundreds or thousands of dollars an hour to do,” he said in an interview with New Scientist. “There’ll still be a lot of good lawyers out there who may be arguing in the European Court of Human Rights, but a lot of lawyers are just charging way too much money to copy and paste documents and I think they will definitely be replaced, and they should be replaced.”
The AI system works by asking the client about their legal problem and then finding a loophole which it turns into a legal letter that can be sent to the appropriate institution or uploaded to a website. In a promotional video, Browder explained that he became “an expert” on finding loopholes to avoid paying fines while dealing with his own parking tickets. As a software engineer, he realized that the process of appealing parking tickets could be automated and created a website to help others do the same.
Last month, DoNotPay’s chatbot successfully negotiated with internet provider Comcast to save an employee $120 per year on their Internet bill. The company’s ultimate goal is to make the legal profession, which is worth $200 billion, free for consumers. In the event that the AI loses the upcoming court case, DoNotPay has agreed to cover any fines. It will be interesting to see the outcome of this landmark case and the potential implications it could have for the legal industry.
The AI system used in the upcoming court case will run on a smartphone and listen in to the proceedings of the courtroom. It will then instruct the defendant on what to say via an earpiece, similar to how a human lawyer would privately advise their client. The decision to use an AI in this role has generated some controversy, with some questioning the ethics and reliability of using an artificial system to defend a case. However, Browder and DoNotPay are confident in the capabilities of their AI and believe that it will be able to provide adequate representation for the defendant.
It is worth noting that the use of AI in the legal field is not entirely novel. In recent years, there have been various examples of AI being used to assist with tasks such as document review and legal research. However, the decision to allow an AI to fully defend a case in court is a significant departure from previous applications of the technology in the legal industry. If the AI is successful in defending the case, it could open the door for more widespread use of artificial intelligence in legal proceedings.
While it remains to be seen how the court will handle the use of an AI as a defense lawyer, the case is certainly a landmark moment for both the legal industry and the field of artificial intelligence. It will be interesting to see the outcome of the case and the potential impact it could have on the future of legal representation. Regardless of the outcome, the use of an AI in this role is sure to generate discussion and debate among legal professionals and the general public.