The Daily Telegraph

Judge uses AI chatbot to rule on children’s medical rights case

- By Jamie Johnson

A JUDGE in Colombia has been accused of irresponsi­ble and unethical behaviour after announcing that he had used the artificial intelligen­ce chatbot CHATGPT to prepare a ruling in a children’s medical rights case.

The case involved a request to exonerate an autistic child from paying fees for medical appointmen­ts, therapy and transporta­tion given his parents’ limited income.

Judge Juan Manuel Padilla ruled in favour of the child and wrote in his judgment that he had consulted CHATGPT on the matter.

Mr Padilla said that he asked the bot, among other questions: “Is autistic minor exonerated from paying fees for their therapies?”

It replied: “Yes, this is correct. According to regulation­s in Colombia, minors diagnosed with autism are exempt from paying fees for their therapies.”

CHATGPT uses artificial intelligen­ce and reams of data from the internet to generate answers to questions posed by human users. However, it has been shown to get things wrong and provide different answers to the same question.

Mr Padilla told Bogotá-based Blu Radio on Tuesday that CHATGPT and other such programs could be useful to “facilitate the drafting of texts” although “not with the aim of replacing” judicial officials. He insisted that “by asking questions to the applicatio­n, we do not stop being judges, thinking beings”.

He said CHATGPT performs services previously provided by a secretary and did so “in an organised, simple and structured manner” that could “improve response times” in the justice system.

Prof Juan David Gutierrez of Rosario University was among those to express incredulit­y at the judge’s admission following his ruling last month.

Mr Gutierrez, an expert in AI regulation and governance, said he had put the same questions to CHATGPT, and got different responses. “It is certainly not responsibl­e or ethical to use CHATGPT as intended by the judge in the ruling in question,” he wrote on Twitter.

He called for urgent “digital literacy” training for judges.

Created by California-based firm Openai, CHATGPT has taken the world by storm since its launch in November, with its ability to write essays, articles, poems and computer code in seconds.

Critics have raised fears it could be used for widespread plagiarism.

Openai has cautioned that its tool can make mistakes. But Mr Padilla said: “I suspect that many of my colleagues are going to join in this and begin to construct their rulings ethically with the help of artificial intelligen­ce.”

‘It is certainly not responsibl­e or ethical to use CHATGPT in the ruling in question’

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