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Colombian judge uses ChatGPT in ruling, triggers debate

AI caused moral panic in law as people feared robots would replace judges

ChatGPT The logo for OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT | AP

With ChatGPT gaining popularity and many switching to the OpenAI, it has paved way for many debates as well. In its latest, a judge in Colombia has triggered a debate by admitting the usage of ChatGPT while deciding on a case. The judge reportedly used the artificial intelligence tool while deciding whether an autistic child's insurance should cover all of the costs of his medical treatment.

To support his decision, the judge Juan Manuel Padilla used precedent from previous rulings.

Padilla is a judge in the Caribbean city of Cartagena. He concluded the entirety child's medical expenses and transport costs should be paid by his medical plan as his parents could not afford them.

The inclusion of Padilla's conversations with ChatGPT in the ruling has triggered a controversy.

The legal documents show Padilla asked ChatGPT the precise legal matter at hand: “Is an autistic minor exonerated from paying fees for their therapies?”

ChatGPT's response corresponded the judge's final decision: "Yes, this is correct. According to the regulations in Colombia, minors diagnosed with autism are exempt from paying fees for their therapies."

Padilla faced strong criticism from his peers after the use of the AI.

ChatGPT is equipped by large amounts of data and computing techniques to make predictions to string words together in a meaningful form of answers to the question.

The recent use of AI in law has triggered panic among the lawyers and judges whether it would replace them with robots.

However, Padilla defended his use of technology, suggesting it could make Colombia's legal system more efficient.

Padilla told Blu Radio on Tuesday that ChatGPT and other such programs could be useful to "facilitate the drafting of texts" but "not with the aim of replacing" judges.

Padilla also said that by asking questions to the application, we do not stop being judges.

Colombia in 2022 approved a law that suggests that public lawyers should use technologies where possible to make their work more efficient.

Octavio Tejeiro, a judge in Colombia's supreme court, said AI caused moral panic in law as people feared robots would replace judges.

"the justice system should make the most of technology as a tool but always while following ethic and taking into account that the administrator of justice is ultimately a human being. It must be seen as an instrument that serves the judge to improve his judgment," Tejeiro told the Guardian.