An artificial intelligence-powered “robot” lawyer will make its debut in court next month, becoming the first of its kind to help a defendant fight a traffic ticket in the United States. This groundbreaking development in the legal field is being led by Joshua Browder, CEO of DoNotPay, a company that has already used AI-generated form letters and chatbots to help people secure refunds for in-flight WiFi that didn’t work, lower bills, and dispute parking tickets, among other issues.
According to Browder, the AI-creation runs on a smartphone, listens to court arguments, and formulates responses for the defendant. The AI lawyer tells the defendant what to say in real-time, through headphones. The robot lawyer will take its first case on February 22, Browder announced on Twitter last week. He did not disclose the name of the client or the court.
“On February 22nd at 1.30 PM, history will be made. For the first time ever, a robot will represent someone in a US courtroom. DoNotPay A.I will whisper in someone’s ear exactly what to say. We will release the results and share more after it happens. Wish us luck!” he tweeted.
This is not the first time DoNotPay has made headlines, the company has already won over 2 million customer service disputes and court cases on behalf of individuals against institutions and organizations. The company has raised $27.7 million from tech-focused venture capital firms, including Andreessen Horowitz and Crew Capital.
“In the past year, AI tech has really developed and allowed us to go back and forth in real-time with corporations and governments,” he said in an interview with CBS MoneyWatch. “We spoke live [with companies and customer service reps] to lower bills with companies; and what we’re doing next month is try to use the tech in a courtroom for the first time.”
While the use of AI-powered robot lawyers in court is a novel concept, it is not without its challenges. Some courts allow defendants to wear hearing aids, some versions of which are Bluetooth-enabled, making it possible for the technology to be used. However, the technology is not legal in most courtrooms. Some states require that all parties consent to be recorded, which rules out the possibility of a robot lawyer entering many courtrooms. Of the 300 cases DoNotPay considered for a trial of its robot lawyer, only two were feasible.
“It’s within the letter of the law, but I don’t think anyone could ever imagine this would happen,” Browder said. “It’s not in the spirit of law, but we’re trying to push things forward and a lot of people can’t afford legal help. If these cases are successful, it will encourage more courts to change their rules.”
The ultimate goal, according to Browder, is to democratize legal representation by making it free for those who can’t afford it, in some cases eliminating the need for pricey attorneys. However, given that the technology is illegal in many courtrooms, he doesn’t expect to be able to commercialize the product any time soon.
“This courtroom stuff is more advocacy,” he said. “It’s more to encourage the system to change,” Browder explained. He is well aware of the challenge and hurdles on the horizon. Lawyers threatened him and told him he’d be sent to jail, he told CBS MoneyWatch. “There are a lot of lawyers and bar associations that would not support this,” Browder said.
The use of AI-powered robot lawyers in court is a novel concept, but it is not without its challenges. It is a reminder of the vast unexplored regions that lie in the legal field, and the endless possibilities for innovation and progress that await us. The use of AI in the legal field has the potential to democratize access to legal representation and make it more affordable for those who can’t afford pricey attorneys. However, as with any new technology, there will be challenges and hurdles to overcome, including legal and ethical considerations.
It will be interesting to see how the case on February 22nd unfolds and the impact it has on the legal field. It could be a turning point in the way legal representation is provided and could lead to more widespread use of AI-powered robot lawyers in the future. However, it is also important to consider the potential consequences and ensure that the rights and interests of all parties are protected.
In conclusion, the use of AI-powered robot lawyers in court is a novel concept that has the potential to revolutionize the legal field, making it more accessible and affordable for all. However, it is important to approach this technology with caution and consider the potential consequences before fully embracing it in the legal system.