In Brazil, the southern city of Porto Alegre passed an ordinance that reportedly was secretly written completely by ChatGPT, OpenAI’s artificial intelligence chatbot. According to City Councilman Ramiro Rosário, he asked ChatGPT to write up a proposal for legislation. He made no edits to what AI gave him — and this ordinance was successfully passed by lawmakers.
According to The Associated Press, Rosário used AI to craft this ordinance “to prevent the city from charging taxpayers to replace water consumption meters if they are stolen.” When Rosário presented this unchanged proposal, all of his 35 colleagues voted in favor of it — he did not let anybody know that this ordinance was written by ChatGPT.
As a result, this ordinance was passed in October and went into effect on Nov. 23.
City lawmakers in Brazil passed what appears to be the nation’s first legislation written entirely by artificial intelligence — even if they didn’t know it at the time.https://t.co/AO9RolMRQ1
— NBC Los Angeles (@NBCLA) December 1, 2023
Rosário publicly talked about using ChatGPT to craft this proposal this Wednesday, which led other city councilmembers in Porto Alegre to realize what they had passed. Porto Alegre’s city council president, Hamilton Sossmeier, found out about this passed ordinance written by AI alongside everybody else after Rosário’s public comments on social media.
Now that Rosário has admitted to using AI to craft legislation, many people have criticized his actions, especially as worries arise over the use of AI in public policy and legislation. Many people feel that Rosário should have at least been open about the use of AI when creating the proposal.
Rosário told The Associated Press, “If I had revealed it before, the proposal certainly wouldn’t even have been taken to a vote.”
He also disagrees with those who have criticized him, stating that AI can help lawmakers when drafting proposals. Rosário said that his use of ChatGPT was intended to start a debate, as he thinks AI can be used for good.
Sossmeier, the city’s council president, criticized Rosário at first, calling his action a “dangerous precedent.” Sossmeier especially pointed out the lack of transparency, as council members weren’t aware that what they were voting on was written by ChatGPT.
However, Sossmeier has since come around to the idea, saying, “I changed my mind. I started to read more in-depth and saw that, unfortunately, or fortunately, this is going to be a trend.”