A Colombian judge used ChatGPT to help rule on a case about the medical rights of a child with autism, reports say

A Colombian judge used ChatGPT to help rule on a case about the medical rights of a child with autism, reports say
ChatGPT is being used across dozens of different industries.CFOTO/Future Publishing via Getty Images
  • A Colombian judge used ChatGPT in ruling on a case about the medical rights of a child with autism.
  • The case was about whether the child's insurance should cover the bills for his medical treatments.

A judge in Colombia said he used ChatGPT to help determine a ruling in a case about the medical rights of a child with autism, a local Colombian radio station reported.

Judge Juan Manuel Padilla resorted to using the OpenAI-owned tool ChatGPT in a court case in the city of Cartagena about a child born with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to figure out whether the child would be exempt from paying the costs of his medical treatments including transportation, Blu Radio reported.

Padilla asked the chatbot a series of questions about the case, with court documents containing the questions subsequently published on Blu Radio's website.

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"Is an autistic person exempted from paying moderator fees in his therapies?" — one question, translated from Spanish to English by Insider, read.

The chatbot responded: "Yes, that's right. According to regulations in Colombia, minors with a diagnosis of autism are exempted from paying moderating fees in their therapies."


Padilla used ChatGPT in accordance with Law 2213 of 2022 in Colombia, which says that virtual tools can be used to aid a case on some occasions. The AI tool helped to save time, he said in an interview with Blu Radio.

According to a report in The Guardian newspaper, Padilla told BluRadio the tech could help "facilitate the drafting of texts," but could not ever replace judges or officials.

The case has divided people across the country over the ethics of using ChatGPT in a legal setting.

Professor Juan David Gutierrez of Rosario University is one professional who opposed Padilla's use of ChatGPT in court, writing in a Twitter thread that the AI tool can "return incorrect, inaccurate, and false results," and give different answers to the same questions.

He added that Colombia needs to ensure the "digital literacy of judges."


However, a judge in Colombia's Supreme Court, Octavio Tejeiro, views the tool more positively and told The Guardian that the justice system "should make the most of technology as a tool."

"It must be seen as an instrument that serves the judge to improve his judgment," he added.

Since ChatGPT launched in November, it has become the fastest-growing consumer app in internet history reaching 100 million users within just two months.

Its wide-ranging abilities include impressing Google with its coding skills; beating 80% of human applicants to a real interview; and passing a university-level law and economics exam.