According to New Scientist, a defendant in a US court will receive advice from an AI-powered legal assistant for the first time in January 2023. The startup DoNotPay’s artificial intelligence technology, dubbed the world’s first “robot lawyer,” will run on a smartphone, listen in on the arguments being made in court, and then provide the defendant spoken suggestions through an earpiece. The project not only highlights AI’s potential applications in the judicial system, but it may also give new life to concerns that AI may render some professions obsolete in the midst of the hot discussion over what the world might look like in an AI-dominated one.
According to The New York Post, Browder stated that his app’s goal is to replace certain attorneys and save money for defendants. It all comes down to words, and attorneys bill hundreds or thousands of dollars per hour to perform this… However, many lawyers are just charging way too much money to copy and paste documents. I think they will definitely be replaced, and they should be replaced,” Browder said. “There will still be a lot of competent lawyers out there who may be arguing in the European Court of Human Rights.
The defendant in this case will reportedly show up in court to contest a speeding penalty, according to reports. The corporation, however, is withholding the name of the defendant and the location of the court. No one else in the courtroom, including the defendant, will be aware that an AI lawyer is on the case, DoNotPay CEO Joshua Browder assured Gizmodo. This may be due to the experiment breaking various national laws that prohibit using phones and other internet-connected devices in courts. Apple AirPods are, however, permitted in courtrooms because to a “hearing accessibility standard” loophole used by DoNotPay.
The program has apparently been tweaked so that it does not respond to every statement made in court but instead merely takes up the arguments and analyzes them before advising the defendant on how to respond. Training the AI app on case law has reportedly taken some time. The program tries to locate a “loophole” once the client describes the issue to the AI legal assistant, which it then puts into a legal letter that can be forwarded to the appropriate institution. DoNotPay will be paying the fine if the experiment is unsuccessful or the defendant is unsuccessful. According to Gizmodo, the defendant is also receiving payment for their cooperation.