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The Robot Lawyer’s 160,000 Parking Violation Wins

If anyone doubted the arrival of the robot lawyer, put them to one side right now.

British teen Joshua Browder’s robot lawyer was reported here earlier in the year and it has already overturned parking tickets in the tens of thousand in both London and New York, totally in fact 160,000 since launching his robot lawyer DoNotPay last year.

The 19-year-old, who is stuyding at Stanford University claims his ‘chat bot’ is the first robot lawyer in the world.

 

Demonstration of DoNotPay
Users chat with the robot lawyer, which can offer advice on a range of subjects beyond parking tickets 

As the Daily Telegraph reported, the chat bot, which is free to use, took Browder three months to create between school and university.

“It was a huge challenge,” he said. He watched hours of YouTube tutorials and spoke to machine learning experts to create the intelligent bot that could understand human messages.

Joshua Browder - Image: nyli.org
Joshua Browder – Image: nyli.org

Browder’s bot was started as a “pet project” for family and  friends to help them with parking tickets, but it soon took off in London and New York, with Seattle next on the list.

“It’s really difficult as every city has different laws,” said Browder. “The US parking authorities are less likely to dismiss tickets. In the UK they’re a lot more fair.”

How it Works

The bot asks a series of questions that are designed to work out if a ticket can be appealed.  Among the appealable points considered by the bot are whether there were clear parking restriction signs, whether the driver was making an urgent hospital drive and so forth.

If the appeal is likely allowable, then the bot walks the ‘client’ through the necessary steps to lodge an appeal.

It is currently only available through the DoNotPay website, but Browder is in talks with Facebook to see if DoNotPay can be incorporated into the Messenger app.

Over 250,000 people have used the service so far Browder reports with some $4 million worth of tickets overturned.  The revenue for local authorities is obviously very significant and they are presumably concerned about the robot’s ability to mechanise the overturning of their parking infringement notices.

The ability of the bot to help motorists extends to a selection of pictures of unclear or confusing road markings taken from Google Maps to help motorists with relevant claims.

“Many motorists leave the scene of their parking ticket without taking photos of the road markings,” he told The Telegraph after the service launched.

The growth of the ‘bot lawyer’ or robot lawyer is something that is clearly an idea whose time – and appeals – have come.

 

 

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