from the the-revolution-will-be-automated dept
In what is likely a sign of the coming government-rent-seeking apocalypse, a 19-year-old Stanford student from the UK has created a bot that assists users in challenging parking tickets. The inevitable result of parking nearly anywhere can now be handled with something other than a) meekly paying the fine or b) throwing them away until a bench warrant is issued.
While a variety of bots have been created to handle a variety of tasks, very few have handled them quite as well as Joshua Browder's "robot lawyer" -- which is certain to draw some attention from disgruntled government agencies who are seeing this revenue stream drying up.
In the 21 months since the free service was launched in London and now New York, Browder says DoNotPay has taken on 250,000 cases and won 160,000, giving it a success rate of 64% appealing over $4m of parking tickets.
Fighting parking tickets is a good place to start, considering most people aren't looking to retain representation when faced with questionable tickets. The route to a successful challenge isn't always straightforward, so it's obviously beneficial to have some guidance in this area -- especially guidance that can determine from a set of pre-generated questions where the flaw in the issued ticket might lie.
Anyone looking for an expansion of chatbots into trickier areas of criminal law are probably going to need to rein in their enthusiasm. There's not much at stake individually in challenging a traffic ticket. The 36% who haven't seen a successful appeal are no worse off than they were in the first place. But it's still better than simply assuming that paying the fine is the only option, especially when the ticket appears to be bogus.
Browder has plans for similar bot-based legal guidance in the future.
Browder’s next challenge for the AI lawyer is helping people with flight delay compensation, as well as helping the HIV positive understand their rights and acting as a guide for refugees navigating foreign legal systems.
The fight against airlines should prove interesting. Generally speaking, most airlines aren't willing to exchange their money for people's time, especially when the situation creating the delay is out of their hands -- which seems to be every situation, whether it's a snowstorm or a passenger confusing math with terrorism. But, if it proves as successful as Browder's first AI assistant, more grumbling from those whose business model has just been interfered with is on the way.