AI chatbots get divorce law wrong

AI divorce

If you’re thinking about divorce and concerned about the cost, you might be thinking about doing it yourself without the involvement of a divorce lawyer like SD Law. This is allowed by law. If a couple is in complete agreement on the division of assets and other terms of the divorce, they can obtain the necessary forms from the local Magistrate’s Court, who will also provide guidance on how to complete the divorce without legal representation. With the astounding growth of generative AI language tools like ChatGPT, you may decide to seek answers to your questions from a chatbot before completing the forms, thus benefiting from legal advice without the cost. BEWARE! As this article from the Irish Legal News shows, generative AI does not always get the answers right. However “intelligent” the answers may look, they are not derived using human judgement. AI divorce is risky. There is no substitute for a good attorney when dealing in matters of law.

Reprinted from Irish Legal News, by Shane McCann – 2023-07-04

AI chatbots answer questions about divorce law in Northern Ireland and the UK with an “unacceptable level of accuracy”, Belfast-based SG Murphy Solicitors has warned.

The firm found put ChatGPT and Google Bard to the test, asking a series of questions about divorce law and asking the chatbots to draft documents such as a matrimonial separation agreement and a divorce petition.

ChatGPT provided insufficient detail in 50 per cent of its responses and Bard provided insufficient detail in 70 per cent, the firm said, while both chatbots generated factually incorrect answers one in five times.

Shane McCann, managing director at SG Murphy, said: “This is an unacceptable level of accuracy. With both AI chatbots being freely available to the public, this inconsistency poses a real threat to misinformed individuals who may take these answers at face value, to save both time and money.”

He added: “Ultimately, we do not feel that chatbots like ChatGPT-3 and Bard will take over from experienced lawyers any day soon. The responses are usually not detailed enough, and the level of incorrect answers is far too high.”

Your attorney should be your first port of call

At SD Law, we know that AI cannot be ignored, and we are following developments in the field with interest. We don’t advise clients against the use of ChatGPT or Bard, but rather recommend you approach it with discretion. It can be a useful starting point to research a topic, but always probe deeper and ensure you find credible and authoritative sources for any information you intend to use in a critical context. SD Law is a firm of experienced divorce attorneys based in Cape Town, with offices in Johannesburg and Durban. If you are contemplating divorce, call family lawyer Simon Dippenaar on  086 099 5146 or email for a chat with a human lawyer. Your future is too important to leave in the hands of a chatbot.

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The information on this website is provided to assist the reader with a general understanding of the law. While we believe the information to be factually accurate, and have taken care in our preparation of these pages, these articles cannot and do not take individual circumstances into account and are not a substitute for personal legal advice. If you have a legal matter that concerns you, please consult a qualified attorney. Simon Dippenaar & Associates takes no responsibility for any action you may take as a result of reading the information contained herein (or the consequences thereof), in the absence of professional legal advice.

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