On August 27, 2019 passenger Roberto Mata was hit with a galley cart on board Avianca flight 670 from San Salvador to New York JFK. The man sued, and the airline sought to have the suit tossed because the statute of limitations had lapsed.
His attorneys argued that Avianca’s bankruptcy caused the statute of limitations to toll, allowing the suit, and they filed a brief to that effect written entirely by ChatGPT which they… did not check at all first.
- I’m a huge fan of AI and ChatGPT in particular, though I’ve never used it to write a blog post. I’m not so much a fan of it for what it can do today, though it’s quite a lot when you think that eight months ago very few people knew it was even coming. What I marvel at is thinking about what it’ll be able to do in 5 and 10 years.
- Today, though, you still need to check its work. It trains on information available on the internet, and the median person on the internet isn’t super thoughtful or accurate. People want so-called fake news. And ChatGPT doesn’t just train on public online data, it now has internet access for those with paid subscriptions.
The brief contained five cases that didn’t exist, such as
- Varghese v. China Southern Airlines dealing with China Southern’s bankruptcy. Only China Southern hasn’t ever filed for bankruptcy. Yet whole quotes from the case were cited.
- Zicherman v. Korean Air Lines, a 1996 case which it claimed was from 2008.
The AI-written brief also discussed EgyptAir’s Amsterdam – Chicago route. EgyptAir does not fly, and has not ever flown, Amsterdam – Chicago which is currently the exclusive province of United and KLM. Here’s the judge’s order
saying what the actual bonk for the plaintiff’s attorney to show cause why he shouldn’t be sanctioned.
The lawyer in the case used the Shaggy Defense (‘wasn’t me’) to say that another lawyer in the first wrote the brief, and that lawyer says he did it with ChatGPT and didn’t check what the AI chatbot had produced.
Apparently the attorney who wrote the brief was working on the case, it was moved to the Southern District of New York where he wasn’t admitted to practice, so another attorney at his firm filed the brief.