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Bob Loblaw's Law Bot (Not) Coming To Supreme Court Near You!
Even a manically depressed law robot is better to talk to than nobody.
Move over, Elon, there's a new tech douche in town, and he's coming in hot!
Friends, meet Joshua Browder, the 26-year-old CEO of tech startup DoNotPay. Browder founded the company as a teenager, when his professed inability to operate a motor vehicle and comprehend street signage inspired him to write a chatbot to contest his numerous parking tickets.
“I couldn’t afford to pay these tickets as a young person, so I became a legal expert about all the reasons why people could get out of parking tickets," says the son of famed hedge fund manager Bill Browder, who earned hundreds of millions of dollars in Russia then went on to spearhead the Global Magnitsky Act after his accountant Sergei Magnitsky caught the Russian state looting businesses and died in prison.
Naturally Silicon Valley couldn't swipe right fast enough on a dork who can't drive, so here we are.
DoNotPay operates hundreds of bots which perform a wide variety of tasks for subscribers. Most of these jobs fall into the category of "menial, but annoying": Want to cancel a gym membership ? Close a bank account ? Change your mailing address ? Cool!
And if you're, say, a serial killer who wants to meet your victims on Tinder without getting tracked down, DoNotPay can help you defeat the hookup site's phone verification system.
But Browder doesn't stop there. The site bills itself as "The World's First Robot Lawyer," and its founder vows to "make the $200 billion legal profession free for consumers." He offers to generate powers of attorney , divorce settlements , and binding legal contracts for his subscribers. And indeed, there are plenty of people for whom a basic legal document consistent with the laws of their state will be perfectly fine using a form populated by one of Browder's bots. But if you are the kind of person who actually needs a prenuptial agreement , you should probably talk to a lawyer. And so should your future spouse, by the way.
Joshua Browder is not a lawyer, although he was a fellow at Peter Thiel's Drop Out for a Couple Years and Break Shit Factory (not actually the real name of the program, your Wonkette is paraphrasing). Nevertheless he's certain that "lawyers are charging hundreds of dollars an hour for copying and pasting a few documents," which he can replicate with a few hundred lines of code. And he's not just planning to copypasta up a couple of wills and small claims complaints. This nerd thinks he's all ready for the big time.
“We have upcoming cases in municipal (traffic) court next month. But the haters will say “traffic court is too simple for GPT.” So we are making this serious offer, contingent on us coming to a formal agreement and all rules being followed. Please contact me if interested!”
— Joshua Browder (@Joshua Browder) 1673240279
"DoNotPay will pay any lawyer or person $1,000,000 with an upcoming case in front of the United States Supreme Court to wear AirPods and let our robot lawyer argue the case by repeating exactly what it says," he tweeted, adding that "We have upcoming cases in municipal (traffic) court next month. But the haters will say 'traffic court is too simple for GPT.' So we are making this serious offer, contingent on us coming to a formal agreement and all rules being followed. Please contact me if interested!"
At first blush, there appear to be one or two minor problems with this plan. First, the Supreme Court has a strict no electronics policy, which it aggressively enforces. Second, you will get arrested if you try to broadcast from inside the chamber. Third, it's malpractice for any attorney to cede his practice to an AI bot. Fourth, this plan probably amounts to the unauthorized practice of law, which is a crime. Fifth, as Browder himself conceded to Politico , it's really hard to get the chat AI to tell the truth consistently, because it's a goddamn machine.
And, PS it's probably illegal for even a pro se litigant to accept money contingent on conducting a case according to the whims of a third party. (Yes, we know Peter Thiel paid Hulk Hogan's legal fees when he sued and killed Gawker. But that didn't give Thiel the right to draft the memos.)
As for the seriousness of the offer, note Browder's response when someone pointed out the most glaring of these defects to him.
“@bitcoinbella_ Ah yes how could I forget about the AirPods Security Checkpoint”
— Joshua Browder (@Joshua Browder) 1673240279
"Ah yes how could I forget about the AirPods Security Checkpoint," he snarked. Later he told Gizmodo that he might take advantage of disability accommodations to get an earpiece into a courtroom without detection, while insisting that “We would never do anything against the rules." But he also bragged to Vice that he'd used a deepfake program to impersonate a customer's voice and negotiate with Wells Fargo Bank, so perhaps take this dude's understanding of "rules" — not to say laws against identity theft and impersonation — with a giant grain of salt.
In summary and in conclusion, JESUS H. CHRIST, these tech dipshits need to be stopped. And if you can't tell the difference between generating pothole complaints and arguing before the Supreme Court because "whatever, it's all law," you're going to wind up in fifteen different kinds of shit before your first IPO. But good luck, dude.
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