Australia: Courts set to grapple with ‘defamation by AI chatbots’

Pursuing legal redress for defamation by AI chatbots like ChatGPT will likely prove fraught, reports Dr Binoy Kampmark

COMETH the new platform, cometh new actions in law, the fragile litigant ever ready to dash off a writ to those with (preferably) deep pockets.

And so, it transpires that artificial intelligence (AI) platforms, for all the genius behind their creation, are up for legal scrutiny and judicial redress. Certainly, some private citizens are getting rather ticked off about what such bots as ChatGPT are generating about them.

Some of this is indulgent, narcissistic craving: you deserve what you get if you plug your name into an AI generator, hoping for sweet things to be said about you. Things get even comical when the search platform is itself riddled with inaccuracies.

One recent example stirring interest in the digital kingdom is a threatened legal suit against the OpenAI chatbot. Brian Hood, Mayor of Hepburn Shire Council in the Australian state of Victoria, was alerted to inaccurate accusations about bribery regarding a case which took place between 1999 and 2004.

It involved Note Printing Australia, an entity of the Reserve Bank of Australia. Hood had worked at Note Printing Australia and blew the whistle on bribes being made to foreign authorities. He was never charged with the crime itself. However, answers generated by ChatGPT suggested otherwise, including the claim that Hood was found guilty of the said bribery allegations.

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