ChatGPT Takes Over Legal

Legal catches ChatGPT fever!
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OpenAI’s ChatGPT is nothing like anything we’ve ever seen before. Currently, it is being used in healthcare, business, education, automobile, tourism amongst others. As OpenAI released the API for ChatGPT and plugins for it, the possibility of its application grew exponentially. However, in a series of surprising events, OpenAI’s chatbot has made its way into judicial decision making—thus saving millions of dollars in lawsuits. 

In one of the first such instances, ruling in the Colombian city of Cartagena was made by a judge using ChatGPT. Juan Manuel Padilla used the chatbot to decide whether insurance should cover the complete cost of an autistic kids’ treatment.

The legal records show that Padilla inquired about the case and asked a specific question to the chatbot—“Is an autistic minor exonerated from paying fees for their therapies?”

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To which ChatGPT responded, “Yes, this is correct. According to the regulations in Colombia, minors diagnosed with autism are exempt from paying fees for their therapies”.

The response coincided with the final verdict wherein the judge exonerated the family of the complete medical expenditure, including transit cost, citing their inability to pay. The use of AI in such judgements is not abolished in Colombia, on the contrary the use of technology is encouraged by a law that was passed in 2022. 

Solving Murder Case

It made waves around the world when earlier this week a judge from the Punjab Haryana High Court decided to use ChatGPT to determine whether a trial defendant for murder and assault should be granted bail or not. The accused, Jaswinder Singh and his associates, allegedly attacked the victim, resulting in the latter’s death.

While dealing with the plea of Singh, the bench of Justice Anoop Chitkara used the AI tool and posed this question to it:

“What is the jurisprudence on bail when the assailants assault with cruelty?”

“The jurisprudence on bail for cases where the assailants have assaulted with cruelty will depend on the specific circumstances of the case and the laws and regulations where the case is being tried,” responded the bot. 

It continued, “However, in general, if the assailants have been charged with a violent crime that involves cruelty, such as murder, aggravated assault, or torture, they may be considered a danger to the community and a flight risk. In such cases, the judge may be less inclined to grant bail or may set the bail amount very high to ensure that the defendant appears in court and does not pose a risk to public safety”.

Conclusively, the court stated that causing death is inherently cruel but if cruelty leads to death, the situation changes. The court subsequently denied the bail application in this case.

Filing a Lawsuit 

While in Canada, Greg Isenberg, CEO, has taken additional measures to address a multi-billion dollar client who refused to pay him. Isenberg tweeted that rather than opting for a lawyer, he turned to ChatGPT for assistance. In his Twitter thread, Isenberg began with the statement, “Consider a multi-billion dollar client who declines to pay you for your quality work. Many individuals would seek out legal assistance, but I turned to ChatGPT”.

The agency’s finance and operations team was asked to come in, but Isenberg came up with an interesting alternative. Instead of sending another unproductive email or incurring high costs for hiring a group of lawyers, he proposed using ChatGPT to draft a collection notice—since it would be free of cost. Hiring a lawyer would mean charges up to $1000 for the same service. As a result, Isenberg requested the AI chatbot to create a daunting collection letter aimed at recovering the outstanding debt of $109,500 owed by the client.

According to Isenberg, the agency was able to retrieve the money due to the chatbot’s assistance. “We couldn’t believe how quickly it worked. He got an email from an executive of the company, saying, ‘Let’s get you guys paid’. Best part was ChatGPT felt like the bad cop, and I felt like the good cop,” read his tweet.

Use it Wisely 

Although the new model from OpenAI is better than its predecessor, ChatGPT is still prone to biases and brain fog. The judges in the Indian and Colombian courts defended themselves against critics for its use.

Justice Anoop Chitkara’s bench stated that mentioning ChatGPT was not an opinion on the case’s merits and the trial court should not consider these remarks. The reference was made only to provide a wider understanding of bail law regarding cruelty as a factor.

Conversely, Padilla contended his use of the chatbot against critics by implying that it could make the Colombian justice system efficient and it could “facilitate the drafting of texts”.

He went on to argue, “By asking questions to the application, we do not stop being judges, thinking beings”.

When AIM asked the Chatbot, “Should ChatGPT be used in the justice system for decision making? 

The chatbot itself seeked human intervention to any suggestion or decision it makes and said, “Any decisions made should be subject to human review and oversight”.

It further cautioned saying, “When it comes to the justice system, it is important to note that the use of AI for decision-making poses ethical concerns and limitations”.

“AI systems are designed to learn from existing data, which means that their decisions can be biased or influenced by the data they have been trained on. Moreover, AI systems lack human empathy and cannot consider the nuances of a case or the emotional impact of a decision on the people involved,” it added.

While ChatGPT was great, OpenAI claims that its successor GPT-4 is better and has passed the BAR exam including other such competitive examinations.

Shyam Nandan Upadhyay
Shyam is a tech journalist with expertise in policy and politics, and exhibits a fervent interest in scrutinising the convergence of AI and analytics in society. In his leisure time, he indulges in anime binges and mountain hikes.

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