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Lawyers blame ChatGPT for tricking them into citing bogus case law

By 06/09/2023 8:32 AMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff


Two contrite attorneys replying to an irate judge blamed ChatGPT Thursday for fooling them into adding bogus legal studies to a court document.

Attorneys Steven A. Schwartz and Peter LoDuca are facing possible penalties for a submission in a lawsuit against an airline that included references to earlier court cases that Schwartz assumed were genuine but were really manufactured by the artificial intelligence-powered chatbot.

Schwartz revealed that he utilized the pioneering application while he sought legal precedents supporting a client’s complaint against the Colombian carrier Avianca for an injury received on a 2019 trip.

The chatbot offered many examples regarding aircraft accidents that Schwartz had not been able to locate using standard procedures at his legal company.

The chatbot has enthralled the globe with its essay-like replies to user inquiries.

Unfortunately, a number of those incidents were either made up or involved fictitious airlines.

Judge P. Kevin Castel was informed by Schwartz that he was “operating under the mistaken belief that this website was obtaining these cases from some source I did not have access to.”

He acknowledged that he “failed miserably” to conduct more research to confirm the accuracy of the citations.

“I didn’t realize ChatGPT could make up cases, remarked Schwartz. Microsoft has made a $1 billion investment in OpenAI, the business that created ChatGPT.

Fears have been raised by its effectiveness in showing how artificial intelligence may alter how people work and learn.

In a statement published in May, hundreds of business executives warn that “mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war.”

Judge Castel expressed disappointment that the attorneys did not act swiftly to clarify the erroneous legal citations when they were first made aware of the issue by Avianca’s attorneys and the court.

Judge Castel was perplexed and worried by the unusual incident.

In a petition from March, Avianca called attention to the false case law.

One hypothetical legal case created by the computer software was presented to Schwartz by the court.

It was first portrayed as a lady suing an airline for wrongful death, but it was changed to a guy who missed a trip to New York and had to pay additional costs.

Can we all agree that’s legalese? Castel enquired.

Schwartz claimed he mistakenly believed that the muddled presentation was the consequence of quotes being taken from several cases.

After Castel had finished interviewing Schwartz, he inquired if he had any other comments. Schwartz stated, “I want to really apologize.

He continued by saying that the error had cost him both personally and professionally, and he was “embarrassed, humiliated, and extremely remorseful.”

In order to prevent something similar from happening again, he said that he and the company where he worked, Levidow Oberman, had put precautions in place.

LoDuca, a different attorney involved in the case, claimed that he trusted Schwartz and did not thoroughly examine the evidence he had gathered.

After the judge read aloud sections of one referenced case to demonstrate how simple it was to see that it was “gibberish,” LoDuca stated: “It never dawned on me that this was a bogus case.” The result, he claimed, “pains me to no end.”

An attorney for the business, Ronald Minkoff, argued before the judge that the submission “resulted from carelessness, not bad faith,” and should not be subject to punishment.

He said that historically, and “and it’s not getting any better,” attorneys have struggled with technology, especially new technology.

“Mr. Schwartz, who seldom ever conducts government research, decided to take advantage of this novel technique.

He believed he was working with a typical search engine, according to Minkoff.

He was experimenting with live ammunition. During a meeting last week that drew dozens of attendees in person and online from state institutions of higher learning, Daniel Shin, an adjunct professor and assistant director of research at the Center for Legal and Court Technology at William & Mary Law School, said he brought the Avianca case.


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