This February 2023, DoNotPay will become the first “lawyer robot” to defend a defendant in court. This artificial intelligence created in 2015 by Joshua Browder will make the leap to a real trial and advise a defendant in front of a United States court. It is a pioneering case and also tremendously controversial, since the use of technology in trials is prohibited.
From being a support to defending a defendant live. During this time, DoNotPay has been used to avoid parking tickets, resort to bank commissions, negotiate with internet providers or sue for theft. A chatbot that, according to Browder himself, has already helped more than 2 million users to resolve disputes.
Now this artificial intelligence will go from being a help from home to acting live, in a real trial. To try to win a case in a real trial for the first time. It will be a case of a traffic ticket and from the company they explain that if they lose the trial, they will cover the costs.
The use of headphones is not allowed, with some exceptions. To participate in the trial, the AI needs to communicate with the defendant. The mechanism is simply a pair of headphones and the human lawyer or the person himself repeats exactly what the DoNotPay AI tells him.
The thing is, the use of external communications is prohibited in most courts. However, some courts do allow outside help via bluetooth. It is through this loophole that Browder intends to sneak into court with his “robot lawyer.” As they explain, of the 300 cases that were initially considered, only in two courts is it “perhaps legal.”
DoNotPay has not given more details of where the trial will be held or the specific date, to prevent the case from being annulled or blocked before it occurs.
They offer $1 million, but they’ve already gotten so much more. In an attempt to promote their proposal, in addition to the trial where they will participate next month, They also offer a million dollars to the lawyer who agrees to the experiment of repeating what the AI says in a case in front of the US Supreme Court. In a more complex case than not a traffic ticket.
It’s a large amount, but less than the $27.7 million that DoNotPay has managed to raise in various rounds of funding, from investors like Andreessen Horowitz and Crew Capital. The use of AI in Justice is not an experiment without foundation, but rather a very ambitious proposal in the face of a very rigid ecosystem.
There is too much “copy and paste” work. Browder explains that “a lot of lawyers are charging too much money to copy and paste documents and I think they will definitely be replaced, and should be replaced.” In cases such as traffic fines, usually many arguments are replicable. And in this case the AI stands out especially.
They claim to be a “robot lawyer”, but then the story changes. When we talk about legal issues you have to be very rigorous and at DoNotPay they know it well. As the lawyer Javier Martínez points out, despite the fact that they promote themselves as a “robot lawyer”, in their terms and conditions they are defined as an aid for private use, without their communications being protected by professional secrecy.
1. @donotpay T&C expressly state that it is not a law firm, that any information given is not legal advice, that communications may not be privileged and that if any user wants to get actual legal advice then it should consult with a licensed lawyer. pic.twitter.com/Qq5wZo2UOj
— Javier Martinez (@JavMtnz) January 11, 2023
European Justice is open to the use of AI, the case is how. The AI raises many doubts, mainly in the fact of receiving external communications. Both at the level of the privacy of the witnesses and because of who has access to those conversations. The secrecy that prevails in trials can be threatened by the use of these tools.
Although, if it is focused from the point of view of pure assistance, associations such as the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) express their support for the possibility of using AI in trials. From predictive algorithms to argument analysis, through tools for online disputes.
In countries like Estonia, they are used to the use of third-party arguments in trials, in the form of an online file. As the lawyer Liisi Jürgen points out, the implementation of AI assistance may be the next step.
Imagen | Andrey Popov