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[Slashdot] - OpenAI Must Defend ChatGPT Fabrications After Failing To Defeat Libel Suit


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An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: OpenAI may finally have to answer for ChatGPT's "hallucinations" in court after a Georgia judge recently ruled against the tech company's motion to dismiss a radio host's defamation suit (PDF). OpenAI had argued that ChatGPT's output cannot be considered libel, partly because the chatbot output cannot be considered a "publication," which is a key element of a defamation claim. In its motion to dismiss, OpenAI also argued that Georgia radio host Mark Walters could not prove that the company acted with actual malice or that anyone believed the allegedly libelous statements were true or that he was harmed by the alleged publication. It's too early to say whether Judge Tracie Cason found OpenAI's arguments persuasive. In her order denying OpenAI's motion to dismiss, which MediaPost shared here, Cason did not specify how she arrived at her decision, saying only that she had "carefully" considered arguments and applicable laws. There may be some clues as to how Cason reached her decision in a court filing (PDF) from John Monroe, attorney for Walters, when opposing the motion to dismiss last year. Monroe had argued that OpenAI improperly moved to dismiss the lawsuit by arguing facts that have yet to be proven in court. If OpenAI intended the court to rule on those arguments, Monroe suggested that a motion for summary judgment would have been the proper step at this stage in the proceedings, not a motion to dismiss. Had OpenAI gone that route, though, Walters would have had an opportunity to present additional evidence. To survive a motion to dismiss, all Walters had to do was show that his complaint was reasonably supported by facts, Monroe argued. Failing to convince the court that Walters had no case, OpenAI's legal theories regarding its liability for ChatGPT's "hallucinations" will now likely face their first test in court. "We are pleased the court denied the motion to dismiss so that the parties will have an opportunity to explore, and obtain a decision on, the merits of the case," Monroe told Ars. "Walters sued OpenAI after a journalist, Fred Riehl, warned him that in response to a query, ChatGPT had fabricated an entire lawsuit," notes Ars. "Generating an entire complaint with an erroneous case number, ChatGPT falsely claimed that Walters had been accused of defrauding and embezzling funds from the Second Amendment Foundation." "With the lawsuit moving forward, curious chatbot users everywhere may finally get the answer to a question that has been unclear since ChatGPT quickly became the fastest-growing consumer application of all time after its launch in November 2022: Will ChatGPT's hallucinations be allowed to ruin lives?"

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