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UK driver used AI-written letter to have his fine reduced

A driver in the UK had a fine greatly reduced using a letter written entirely by an artificial intelligence chat bot.

As reported by PA, Brighton native Shaun Bosley unknowingly incurred a fine last November when he dropped a colleague off at Gatwick Airport, driving through the airport’s drop-off area.

Unbeknownst to Bosley, motorists dropping passengers off at the airport must pay £5 to remain in the drop-off area for up to 10 minutes, and are charged an extra £1 for every minute they stay after that. Bosley incurred a charge of £15 total before leaving the area.

However, he says he received no correspondence or notice of this, until several months later, when National Car Parks (NCP) contacted him offering a “final notice.” This message threatened a £100 fine for the delayed payment, despite Bosley having not received any prior messages about it.

At that point he turned to OpenAI chat bot, ChatGPT, which is known for being able to generate realistic human-like speech, and asked it to write him an appeal letter.

“In the end, I just typed, ‘write an appeal to a penalty charge notice for driving through Gatwick airport. I have received final notice, but never received first notice of the penalty’, and straight away it came back with a great response,” he said, speaking to PA news agency.

The letter came back referencing the “undue stress and hardship” caused by the incident to Bosely, explaining: “I believe that the debt collection process has been premature and I request that you reconsider the penalties imposed.”

The next day the NCP replied, reducing the fine to the original £15 amount.

Bosley said that it was “insane” how human-like the letter sounded, adding “I didn’t have to look at it and think ‘that sounds like a robot, I need to change some of it’ – it was so conversational.”

The news comes as Tesla and Twitter CEO Elon Musk’s engineering headquarters has announced it will be focusing on AI, particularly for self-driving cars and robotics.

In 2018, Musk previously said that he believes that unregulated AI has the potential to be more dangerous than nuclear weapons and could lead to “scary outcomes” for humanity.



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