OpenAI Faces Libel Suit Over ChatGPT "Hallucinations"

A judge's ruling in Georgia could redefine how defamation laws are applied to artificial intelligence-derived information.
OpenAI Faces Libel Suit Over ChatGPT "Hallucinations"

In a recent ruling, a Georgia judge denied OpenAI's motion to dismiss a defamation lawsuit filed by a radio host, Mark Walters, regarding the usage of ChatGPT. The judge's decision indicates that the tech company may have to address the issue in court. OpenAI had claimed that ChatGPT's output could not be considered libel and argued that it does not constitute a "publication" as required for a defamation claim. However, the court found these assertions unconvincing.

Arguments and Discussion

OpenAI insisted the radio host could not demonstrate the company acted with malicious intent or prove that anyone believed the allegedly defamatory statements. Judge Tracie Cason's decision did not explicitly state her reasoning but indicated that she carefully considered the arguments and laws involved. The attorney for Walters opposed OpenAI's motion, saying the company moved to dismiss the lawsuit without properly substantiating its claims in court. Had OpenAI pursued a different legal route, the radio host would have had an opportunity to present additional evidence.

The Libel Case: What Happened?

Walters sued OpenAI after a journalist reported ChatGPT had created a false lawsuit in response to a query. The chatbot inaccurately claimed that Walters was involved in defrauding funds from a foundation and deemed the claims potentially career-damaging. He argued that OpenAI failed to prevent such false outputs, disregarding their potential impact.

Analysis of Legal Claims

John Monroe, attorney for Walters, argued that the radio host had sufficiently stated a claim of libel under Georgia law and inferred malice in the alleged defamation. OpenAI countered by claiming that Walters was a public figure and must prove "actual malice." The court also considered OpenAI's introduction of extraneous material and pointed to a disclaimer in ChatGPT's terms of use, which indicated that users should verify the bot's responses to avoid potential inaccuracies.

Conclusion and Future Implications

The case against OpenAI and its chatbot, ChatGPT, will continue as the judge denied the motion to dismiss. This verdict will have lasting implications for the tech company and may answer questions about the accountability of AI-generated outputs. It remains to be seen how the judicial process will unfold and how it will impact future developments involving AI technology.

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