The much-anticipated appearance in court of the robot lawyer has been canceled after “State Bar prosecutors” threatened the man behind the company that created the chatbot with prison time.
Joshua Browder, CEO of DoNotPay, tweeted that: “Good morning! Bad news: after receiving threats from State Bar prosecutors, it seems likely they will put me in jail for 6 months if I follow through with bringing a robot lawyer into a physical courtroom. DoNotPay is postponing our court case and sticking to consumer rights”
Browder also stated that he will not use the company’s robot lawyer in court. The artificial intelligence-powered robot lawyer was set to be the first of its kind to assist a defendant in fighting a traffic ticket in court next month. It is designed to tell the defendant what to say in real time, through headphones, and runs on a smartphone. It listens to court arguments and formulates responses for the defendant.
The prospect of bringing the first robot lawyer into the courtroom, according to Browder, was not worth the risk of spending six months in jail. Browder went on to say that multiple state bar associations had threatened his company, with one even threatening to imprison him for six months.
He said: “Even if it wouldn’t happen, the threat of criminal charges was enough to give it up. The letters have become so frequent that we thought it was just a distraction and that we should move on.”
The sources for this piece include an article in NPR.