Rapper Pras blames artificial intelligence use for losing his case

Artificial intelligence - Court

Prakazrel Michel of the Fugees says AI caused his lawyer to botch his closing arguments.

Prakazrel “Pras” Michel, Fugees rapper, recently lost a multimillion-dollar conspiracy trial that moved through both entertainment and political environments, and now that it was lost, it is taking aim at artificial intelligence technology.

The rapper claims that the closing was botched by the lawyer who had used an AI program.

According to Michel, the trial attorney used an “experimental” generative artificial intelligence program. This was one of several errors the “unqualified, unprepared and ineffectual” trial attorney made before Michel’s 2022 conviction, according to the rapper’s motion for a new trial, filed through his new lawyers.

Artificial intelligence - law - gavel

Though generative AI chatbots are able to produce realistic text, they have also been leading to important questions regarding copyright protection, misinformation and calls for regulations across the industry. ChatGPT and other programs have already had a massive impact on professions such as education and writing. The Michel case could place the technology’s issues into the spotlight as it continues its fast-paced growth.

Michel’s trial represented the first time generative artificial intelligence was used in a federal trial.

The company that designed the system, EyeLevel.AI, said that the Grammy-winning performer’s federal trial was the first time this type of technology was used for this type of purpose. The company added that its program was not “experimental,” but was instead trained using only the case facts, such as the court transcripts. This did not include anything found online, such as musical lyrics. The program was meant to provide complex questions with rapid answers to assist, not replace, human lawyers, said Neil Katz, the company’s COO.

David Kenner, the rapper’s defense attorney referred to the system as a “game changer for complex litigation.” However, when speaking to the jury in his closing, Kenner appeared to confuse certain core components of the case and misattributed the “Every single day, every time I pray, I will be missing you” lyric to the Fugees, the hip-hop group from the 1990s that was co-founded by Michel. The line is a well-known lyric from a Diddy song (then known as Puff Daddy). This, according to Peter Zeidenberg, Michel’s new lawyer.

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