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AI lawyer to fight first legal case in court, startup claims

Plus: How much would you pay for ChatGPT? And British AI drug biz gets snapped up for half a billion

In Brief An AI language model is apparently going to be used during an upcoming legal hearing to defend someone in a real case. The goal is to demonstrate that AI can replace lawyers, according to the CEO of the consumer rights-focused startup DoNotPay.

Large language models like ChatGPT generate text, and learn to model the relationships between words after having been trained on webpages scraped from the internet. Unfortunately, their outputs often have to be steered away from producing information that is biased and discriminatory, as reflected from their training data. They are also prone to generating false "facts" too, making them tricky to use in high-risk applications like law or medicine.

DoNotPay's CEO Joshua Browder, however, believes the technology is ready for prime time. He claims to have persuaded someone to represent themselves with an AI chatbot. The defendant will reportedly wear earbuds that will stream audio snippets regurgitating legal arguments produced by a language model that they will repeat verbatim during a legal hearing over Zoom.

The stunt will involve GPT-J, an open source language model, released by Eleuther, a collective made up of AI researchers and developers, according to Politico. Browder declined to reveal any more details about the robot lawyer case scheduled for next month over fears his stunt could be thwarted by judges. 

He has even gone as far as to offer $1 million to any lawyer to use AI in an upcoming Supreme Court case, which is a bit tricky considering most electronics are banned.

ChatGPT Professional is coming

OpenAI is planning to monetize its wildly popular language model ChatGPT and is deciding how much to charge users for the new product dubbed, unsurprisingly, ChatGPT Professional.

The company released a questionnaire online asking people how much they thought a monthly subscription to the model should be priced at. 

ChatGPT has taken the internet by storm. People enjoy experimenting with the tool to get it to automatically generate all sorts of text from jokes to essays. The current system is free and open to anyone to use, although it's often overwhelmed by requests and can be quite slow in generating responses. The commercial version, however, promises to be fast and always available for use. 

Although the technology can seem like a bit of harmless fun, there are risks to producing realistic human-like text. Experts have warned that language models could be misused to create fake news and spread disinformation. Tools like ChatGPT tend to propagate biases in training data, and attempts to censor toxic hate speech don't always work.

The tech has also sparked a wider conversation on how they might impact education. Teachers are concerned that the sophisticated natural language processing capabilities of ChatGPT enables students to cheat more easily. Language models can generate homework answers given a text prompt describing an essay question, for example.

Instadeep acquired by COVID-19 vaccine makers for £562 million

BioNTech, best known for collaborating with Pfizer to manufacture a COVID-19 vaccine, is acquiring InstaDeep, a British AI drug design startup, in a deal worth up to £562 million ($682 million).

"The acquisition of InstaDeep allows us to incorporate the rapidly evolving AI capabilities of the digital world into our technologies, research, drug discovery, manufacturing, and deployment processes," said Ugur Sahin, CEO and co-founder of BioNTech, in a statement, this week.

"Our aim is to make BioNTech a technology company where AI is seamlessly integrated into all aspects of our work."

If the deal successfully closes, BioNTech will front £362 million in cash and acquire all of InstaDeep's shares, whilst the startup's shareholders can expect to receive up to £200 million ($244 million) depending on milestones reached. In addition to developing methods to detect and monitor SARS-CoV-2 variants, both companies have ongoing collaborations on mRNA-based therapeutics.

AI drug design is growing. New advances in AI model architectures and the availability of training data is driving its potential to revolutionize drug design. New medicines, like antibodies or drug molecules, are being generated by algorithms and produced and tested in labs with the hopes they can one day cure diseases.

Shutterstock and Meta strike up AI training deal

Stock photo giant Shutterstock is giving Meta access to millions of images, videos and music from its platforms to help develop and train its machine-learning algorithms. 

Training data is crucial for the performance of neural networks. They need large quantities of high-quality samples to learn from. Meta has the resources to build and train models, whilst Shutterstock has the data. The content is more likely to be of better quality too since it is better curated than just scraping stuff off the internet.

"AI has the potential to drive an explosion of creativity," Paul Hennessy, Chief Executive Officer at Shutterstock, said in a statement.

"Shutterstock is expanding our long-standing relationship with Meta, which follows our partnerships with OpenAI and LG AI Research announced last year, to reinforce our mission to invest in technology that brings creative ideas to life faster."

"We want to automate the busywork required to complete creative projects and help creators understand how their work is resonating. Our content will remain at the heart of these advancements both on and off our platform, and we will continue to shape the future of generative AI in a way that is ethical and artist-centric."

Shutterstock supports AI-generated images on its platform, and allows contributors to make money off their artwork if they are sold or used to train models. ®

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