Steven Schwartz was "unaware of the possibility that [ChatGPT’s] content could be false.”AI 

Lawyer faces penalties after using ChatGPT to write a feed full of fake quotes

The AI hype has reached its peak in recent months, and many people fear that programs like ChatGPT will one day put an end to them. For a New York attorney, this nightmare may come true sooner than expected, but not for the reasons you might think. As reported by The New York Times , attorney Stephen Schwartz of the law firm Levidow, Levidow & Oberman recently turned to OpenAI’s chatbot to help draft a legal brief, with predictably disastrous results.

Schwartz’s company sued Colombia-based Avianca on behalf of Roberto Matta, who was allegedly injured on a flight to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. When the airline recently asked a federal judge to dismiss the case, Mata’s lawyers filed a 10-page brief to argue why it should file suit. The document cited more than half a dozen court decisions, including “Varghese v. China Southern Airlines,” “Martinez v. Delta Airlines” and “Miller v. United Airlines.” Unfortunately, in the opinion of all parties involved, no one who reads the press release found any of the court decisions mentioned by Mata’s lawyers. Why? Because ChatGPT invented them all. Oops.

In an affidavit filed Thursday, Schwartz said he used the chat software to “supplement” his investigation into the case. Schwartz wrote that he was “not aware of the possibility that [ChatGPT’s] content could be false.” He even shared screenshots asking ChatGPT if the cases he cited were real, and the program responded by claiming that the decisions can be found in “reputable legal databases,” including Westlaw and LexisNexis.

Schwartz said he “deeply regrets” using ChatGPT “and would never do so without absolute confirmation.” It remains to be seen whether he will get another chance to write the legal text. The judge overseeing the case scheduled a hearing for June 8 to discuss possible penalties due to the “unprecedented circumstances” of Schwartz’s actions.

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