AI-powered lawyer to defend in court next month

The first artificial intelligence-powered lawyer is going to court next month.

The CEO of legal services company DoNotPay tweeted about it in January. Joshua Browder wrote “On February 22nd at 1.30PM, history will be made. For the first time ever, a robot will represent someone in a US courtroom. DoNotPay AI will whisper in someone’s ear exactly what to say. We will release the results and share more after it happens. Wish us luck!”

Experts say there are pros and cons to this idea.

“I can see some benefits of having tools that can assist people as they go to court for traffic tickets and other violations because, unfortunately, access to justice is a real problem in our society,” said Lee Tiedrich, a visiting professor of the practice of law at Duke University School of Law.

On the other hand, she said there are some risks. Bots don’t have an education and they’re not like a lawyer, who is subject to certain ethical guidelines.

“The machine is not unbiased. It learned from somewhere, so the output kind of depends on a lot of the data that it found,” said Kerstin Hering, the director of the Humane Robot Technology Lab at the University of Denver.

AI has been in the news a lot lately from AI-generated art to AI programs like ChatGPT, which has passed an MBA exam.

“It was not accessible to a broader population and now it is and it makes sense. It is very good at what it does,” Hering said about the growing use of artificial intelligence, which has been around since the 1950s in some capacity. “The bottom line is ‘What are humans doing with this?’.”

Experts say new technology can also be used in the wrong ways. As it evolves, regulations will have to evolve, too.

“I’m pretty confident we’re going to start seeing more AI laws and regulations within the next year,” said Tiedrich. “It’s forcing us as a society to figure out how we can create structures, legal policy structures, business norms, that enable us to capitalize on the benefits and mitigate the risks.”

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