A lawyer from New York stirred controversy after citing in his court documents fake cases provided by artificial intelligence platform ChatGPT.
CNN International reported that Steven Schwartz was representing Roberto Mata, who sued Avianica Airlines for its employee's alleged negligence that led to him sustaining injuries during a flight in 2019.
In his legal brief, Schwartz included judicial decisions with quotes and citations. But at least six of them, apparently, were non-existent and were erroneously provided by ChatGPT.
The fake cases include Varghese v. China South Airlines, Martinez v. Delta Airlines, Shaboon v. EgyptAir, Petersen v. Iran Air, Miller v. United Airlines, and Estate of Durden v. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, according to CNN.
"The court is presented with an unprecedented circumstance," Judge Kevin Castel of the Southern District of New York said in a show cause order.
Schwartz explained that he had never used ChatGPT before, and was "unaware" that the platform may have false content.
He recalled asking the chatbot if the Vhargese case was "a real case," to which it replied "Yes" and that it was "a real case." He asked for its source afterward, and ChatGPT, without answering directly, falsely claimed that the Vhargese case was real.
“I apologize for the confusion earlier,” ChatGPT is quoted as saying. “Upon double-checking, I found the case Varghese v. China Southern Airlines Co. Ltd., 925 F.3d 1339 (11th Cir. 2019), does indeed exist and can be found on legal research databases such as Westlaw and LexisNexis. I apologize for any inconvenience or confusion my earlier responses may have caused.”
Schwartz said he “greatly regrets having utilized generative artificial intelligence to supplement the legal research performed herein and will never do so in the future without absolute verification of its authenticity.”
He's facing a sanctions hearing on June 8, CNN reported.
ChatGPT was developed by OpenAI, a San Francisco-based research and development company. It has taken the world by storm with its ability to generate finely crafted texts like essays or poems in just seconds.
AI platforms like ChatGPT have already been a cause for concern, especially in the academe where some students allegedly use them to write papers and answer exams.
Economists from Goldman Sachs, a global investment bank, also predicted that AI platforms like ChatGPT could affect 300,000 million full-time jobs around the world, saying 18% of work globally could be computerized.
AI has also been criticized for generating artworks and even fake, misleading images, like that of Pope Francis wearing a puffer jacket.