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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

"Robot Lawyer" Takes On Parking Tickets

The Guardian reports that Joshua Browder calls his chatbot, DoNotPay "the world's first robot lawyer." Browder's creation requires users to work their way through a series of questions to determine the viability of appealing a parking ticket. So far, DoNotPay has had a pretty good run:

The results speak for themselves. 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
“I think the people getting parking tickets are the most vulnerable in society. These people aren’t looking to break the law. I think they’re being exploited as a revenue source by the local government,” Browder told Venture Beat
The bot was created by the self-taught coder after receiving 30 parking tickets at the age of 18 in and around London. The process for appealing the fines is relatively formulaic and perfectly suits AI, which is able to quickly drill down and give the appropriate advice without charging lawyers fees.
The Wall Street Journal reports on the story as well, noting that in addition to Browder's robot lawyer, robots also carry out the work of issuing parking tickets.

Browder's program is not the only robot lawyer on the market, although it appears to be the only robot lawyer that regular folks may use. BakerHostetler is using ROSS, "the world's first artificially intelligent attorney," to perform legal research. According to ROSS's website, you can ask ROSS a question, it searches "the entire body of law" and provides a cited answer and reading suggestions. It sounds similar to this blog, although I only focus on arcane questions that are of interest to me in the moment.

In addition to these robot lawyers, I stand by what I have previously written and hope that one day we will also have robot judges. In an era of complicated laws and expensive attorneys, we may yet see the day when robots end up handling all the legal nonsense. As an attorney, however, I cringe at the prospect of this dismal world without lawyers, and hope that this future is still a long way off.

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