The law came into effect on November 23. Six days later, Porto Alegre councilman Ramiro Rosario shared that the legislation was written by OpenAI’s chatbot, The Washington Post newspaper reported.
ChatGPT, the AI chatbot developed by OpenAI, generates responses by predicting what comes next in a sentence, based on patterns it learned during training.
Rosario told The Post that the command he input into ChatGPT was: “Create a municipal law for the city of Porto Alegre, originating from the legislature and not the executive, which prohibits the Municipal Water and Sewage Department from charging the owner of the property for the payment of a new water meter when it is stolen.”
He said the proposals were a 30-day deadline for the city to replace stolen water meters and a provision waiving water bills if the deadline was not met, according to The Post.
The AI-generated response was approved by all 36 members of the council, who did not know that it was AI-generated, The Post reported.
It had also been vetted by several council committees, with the legislative drafting branch only making small changes to the wording of the bill, the newspaper said.
Rosario told The Post that this experiment was performed to bring about “the debate surrounding the beginning of a great technological revolution.”
Last Wednesday, when it was revealed that ChatGPT formulated the bill, it was met with scepticism by the city council’s president.
According to Associated Press, Hamilton Sossmeier initially said it set a “dangerous precedent” and was annoyed that Rosario was not transparent about ChatGPT having written the proposal.
However, Sossmeier said he has since changed his mind. He said: “I started to read more in-depth and saw that, unfortunately, or fortunately, this is going to be a trend.”
Rosario told Business Insider that he kept the fact that it was generated by ChatGPT a secret because he feared that lawmakers’ prejudices about AI might have prevented it from even being voted on.
“By announcing that artificial intelligence wrote the text only after its plenary approval and sanction by the mayor, I ensured the process progressed without any external interference,” he said.
Reflecting on the significance of the AI-generated proposal, Rosario told BI: “I support the idea that artificial intelligence can help optimise resources and the time of political agents and public servants, allowing them to focus on what is truly essential for their work.”