Just a few days ago, I wrote about DoNotPay’s offer to allow its robot lawyer take over a Supreme Court argument. A few things have happened in the meantime.
Since then, DoNotPay announced it had signed its first [client? Guinea pig? rube?] and was going to be making a surreptitious courtroom debut next month.
In light of that announcement, a Twitterer named Kathryn Tewson (who does not make her background clear in her bio) decided to do a little digging as to DoNotPay’s actual AI capabilities and live-tweeted her experienece. Those tweets were adapted into this Techdirt story—which you should read in its entirety, because it is cringeworthy and hilarious, but the conclusion is, more or less, that the AI may not have even been artificial, let alone intelligent.*
And now for the least surprising update, per DoNotPay CEO Joshua Browder:
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[.]
Putting aside the fact that I don’t think “State Bar prosecutors” can put anyone in jail (a referral to a DA for unauthorized practice of law might be on the table), this is a reasonable and necessary move for the myriad reasons we’ve been over, and more. (And, for the record, many have pointed out that DoNotPay seems to have some pretty good consumer tools that do not implicate UPL, so focusing on them is also prudent.)
*Hence the human and handwritten “AI” post-it stock art above. (Well, that and there is a limited amount of free AI-themed stock art out there.)