In a novel approach, a student from York, England, used ChatGPT to successfully appeal a parking fine. According to the BBC, this all began when Millie Houlton received a notice from the York City Council about an outstanding parking fine. Unsure how to approach the situation she turned to ChatGPT for help. In a simple prompt, she was able to use a letter that was generated by the popular chatbot against a sixty-pound fine.
According to Houlton, the fine was issued in error to her for parking on the street without a permit. The problem was, she indeed possessed a permit to do so. With a day job, her studies, and other obligations, she looked at the popular chatbot for help. When she did, she wrote in the prompt “please help me write a letter to the council, they gave me a parking ticket.”
Speaking to the BBC about the situation she said, “I was like, ‘oh I don’t need this fine, I’m a student’ but trying to articulate what I wanted to say was pretty difficult so I thought I’ll just see if ChatGPT can do it for me…I put in all my details about where and when it happened, why it was wrong and my reference for the fine and it came back with this perfectly formed personalised response within minutes.“.
This approach is quite similar to what New York-based start-up DoNotPay wanted to do with their own chatbot. By creating an AI-powered program to assist everyday people with their issues in court, they hoped to empower those who may lack the finances for certain legal defenses. But according to our report earlier this year, threats from attorney generals and bar associations began to pour in.
All of which culminated in a class-action lawsuit against the start-up. But for Millie Houlton, ChatGPT was able to provide some relief from her municipality’s oversight. Every day, more and more users are finding new and creative ways to use GPT.