If odd digital interpretations of classic movie posters and strangely sexual selfie photo collages on Instagram still haven’t convinced you of generative artificial intelligence’s merits, maybe saving a few bucks will. That’s part of the idea behind a new ChatGPT chatbot from the company DoNotPay, which it says can effectively negotiate better prices on bills for its users.
DoNotPay CEO Joshua Browder posted a video on his Twitter account of the bot hard at work trying to negotiate a better internet deal for a DoNotPay engineer. The video shows the bot launching a real time text chat with the ISP’s own Xfinity Assistant bot. Eventually, the DoNotPay app gets connected with a live human agent. From there, the bot sends a long message complaining about multiple recent internet outages and the related workday disruptions they caused. The bot mentions multiple prior consumer lawsuits lodged against Comcast and said it would like to negotiate a new lower price for the same internet service. Failure to reduce that price, the bot says, could force it to take legal action against the company.
The human agent, probably pretty confused at this point, responds with its own robotic feeling volleys of messages. After asking the bot to verify some more pieces of personal information. The Comcast representative eventually offers the person behind the bot a new deal where it could pay $10 less for the same internet quality. Browder says that the new deal would end up saving the engineer $120 dollars per month.
Browder said the bot, which is built on top of OpenAI’s GPT-3 API, will be able to carry out similar negotiations for its user on online forms, chats and emails in the near future. The possibilities, according to the CEO, extend beyond a few bucks here and there on internet bills though. DoNotPay, which calls itself, “the world’s first robot lawyer,” says it’s currently testing the software on $5,000 worth of medical bills.
As someone with plenty of personal experience dealing with internet providers’ at times madness inducing quality of customer service, the DoNotPay bot certainly looks attractive! It’s not without its limitations, though. For starters, the AI at one point in the demo mistakenly writes “[insert email address]” in lieu of providing an actual email. Browder also admitted to The Verge the bot exaggerated the fact around the supposed internet outage, something he said wouldn’t happen when the final version ships.
The chatbot also goes on to have a brief, but hilarious, exchange of courtesies with the live human representative that reads like the machine learning equivalent of a handshake that goes on for way too long or a, “I’m not you buddy, guy” back and forth from South Park. While one could see this as the bot “outing” itself as an AI, the human rep actually almost ends up sounding more robotic.
“The AI is also a bit too polite, replying back to everything,” Browder said in a tweet. “But it was enough to get a discount.”
The CEO says the bot will advocate passionately for its users but not to the point where it starts blatantly making shit up. Instead, if the bot can’t determine a correct answer it will stop and ask the user for help. The bot builds on DoNotPay’s arsenal of digital tools meant to help people breeze through tedious tasks like canceling subscription and paying parking tickets to appealing banned accounts.