Two apologetic lawyers responding to an angry judge in Manhattan federal court blamed ChatGPT for tricking them into including fictitious legal research in a court filing, Larry Neumeister reported for the Associated Press (AP).
Photo Insert: The lawyers cannot sue ChatGPT for fooling them but they could run after the developers of the app.
Attorneys Steven A. Schwartz and Peter LoDuca are facing punishment over a filing in a lawsuit against an airline that included references to court cases that Schwartz thought were real, but were invented by the artificial intelligence (AI)-powered chatbot.
He said that he used the program to look for precedents supporting a client’s case against the Colombian airline Avianca for injury incurred on a 2019 flight.
The chatbot suggested several cases involving aviation mishaps that Schwartz hadn’t been able to find through usual methods used at his law firm.
The problem was, several of those cases weren’t real or involved airlines that didn’t exist. Schwartz told US District Judge P. Kevin Castel he was “operating under a misconception ... that this website was obtaining these cases from some source I did not have access to.”
He said he “failed miserably” at doing follow-up research to ensure the citations were correct. “I did not comprehend that ChatGPT could fabricate cases,” Schwartz said.
The lawyers cannot sue ChatGPT for fooling them but they could run after the developers of the app. Microsoft has invested some $1 billion in OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT.