The council of Brazilian city Porto Alegre passed a ChatGPT-written law

December 2, 2023

The council of the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre has enacted a piece of legislation entirely authored by ChatGPT, marking a first in the nation’s history. 

The legislation in question, dealing with the issue of taxpayers being charged for replacing stolen water consumption meters, was passed in October. However, the AI origins of the law were only revealed by City Councilman Ramiro Rosário on November 29, 2023. 

Speaking to The Associated Press, Rosário disclosed, “I asked OpenAI’s chatbot ChatGPT to craft a proposal.” He further admitted that he presented this proposal to the 35-member council without altering a single word and did not inform them of its AI origin. 

Reflecting on his decision, Rosário said, “If I had revealed it before, the proposal certainly wouldn’t even have been taken to a vote.”

As you might expect, the council’s unanimous approval and the subsequent enactment of the law on November 23 has unleashed a debate about AI’s role in legal and political processes.

The lack of transparency in Rosário’s approach was a deliberate choice to provoke discussion. 

Porto Alegre’s initiative is not the only instance of lawmakers experimenting with AI for legislative purposes. In Massachusetts, Democratic state Senator Barry Finegold has employed ChatGPT to draft a bill to regulate AI models. 

Finegold emphasized the need for transparency in the use of such technology in legislative processes, stating, “We want work that is ChatGPT generated to be watermarked.”

Earlier in the year, Costa Rican lawmakers used ChatGPT to draft legislation, prefacing their prompt with “think like a lawyer.”

Hamilton Sossmeier, the president of Porto Alegre’s city council, who was initially critical of the method, later revised his opinion.

Acknowledging the usefulness of AI, he remarked, “I changed my mind. I started to read more in-depth and saw that, unfortunately, or fortunately, this is going to be a trend.”

As AI becomes more deeply embedded into public sector processes, might we be heading towards an “algocracy,” where AI models make decisions on behalf of public sector agencies?

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Sam Jeans

Sam is a science and technology writer who has worked in various AI startups. When he’s not writing, he can be found reading medical journals or digging through boxes of vinyl records.


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