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DoNotPay chickens out on its courtroom AI chatbot stunt

DoNotPay chickens out on its courtroom AI chatbot stunt


DoNotPay founder Joshua Browder says he’s received ‘threats’ from ‘State Bar prosecutors’ about potential legal action.

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A graphic showing a robot performing multiple functions
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

DoNotPay isn’t bringing its robot lawyer to the courtroom anytime soon. Joshua Browder, the creator and CEO of DoNotPay, announced on Twitter that the company is “postponing our court case and sticking to consumer rights” after receiving threats from “State Bar prosecutors” about the potential legality of the stunt.

The company, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help people challenge parking tickets and sue people, had been planning to use the technology to fight a client’s speeding ticket in court this February. Browder says the AI would’ve “listened” to the case and generated responses using large language models (LLMs) and GPT-3, the same platform used by OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot. The client would then hear these responses through a pair of AirPods and repeat exactly what it said in front of a judge.

While the use of electronic devices is banned at some courtrooms across the country, Browder told Gizmodo at the time that DoNotPay planned on using hearing accessibility standards as a loophole, allowing the client to wear the AirPods during the trial. He also noted that the court wouldn’t know that the client was receiving AI-generated prompts through the earbuds.

Browder even offered $1,000,000 to anyone willing to wear AirPods and repeat what they’re told in front of the Supreme Court earlier this month.

DoNotPay first emerged in 2015 as the “world’s first robot lawyer,” initially providing users with the templates they need to file complaints and cancel subscriptions. Over the years, DoNotPay continued to expand its capabilities and add more services, with the company rolling out an AI chatbot to help you negotiate bills last month. The tool, which also uses the GPT-3 platform, can engage in back-and-forth conversations with various companies through text-based live chats.

Browder says that the company will continue to focus on helping customers lower medical bills, cancel subscriptions, and dispute credit reports using AI. He also adds that DoNotPay has some “incredibly exciting announcements regarding GPT consumer rights products in the next two weeks” and notes that DoNotPay is removing some services, like divorce agreements and defamation demand letters, to focus more on consumer rights.