Hiring a lawyer for a parking ticket appeal is not only a headache — it can also cost more than the ticket itself. Depending on the case and the lawyer, an appeal (a legal process where you argue out of paying the fine) can cost between $400 to $900. But with the help of a bot made by British programmer Joshua Browder, 19, it costs nothing.
Browder’s bot handles questions about parking ticket appeals in the UK. Since launching in late 2015, it has successfully appealed $3 million worth of tickets.
Once you sign in, a chat screen pops up. To learn about your case, the bot asks questions like, « Were you the one driving? » and « Was it hard to understand the parking signs? » It then spits out an appeal letter, which you mail to the court. If the robot is completely confused, it tells you how to contact Browder directly.
The site is still in beta, and the full version will launch this spring, Browder, a Stanford University freshman, tells Tech Insider.
Since laws are publicly available, bots can automate some of the simple tasks that human lawyers have had to do for centuries. Browder’s isn’t even the first lawyer bot. The startup Acadmx’s bot creates perfectly formatted legal briefs. The company Lex Machina does data mining on judges’ records and makes predictions on what they will do in the future.
Beyond parking tickets, Browder’s bot can also help with delayed or cancel flights and payment-protection insurance (PPI) claims. Although the bot can only help file claims on simple legal issues — it can’t physically argue a case in front of a judge — it can save users a lot of money.
Browder programmed his robot based on a conversation algorithm. It uses keywords, pronouns, and word order to understand the user’s issue. He says that the more people use the robot, the more intelligent it becomes. Its algorithm can quickly analyze large amounts of data while improving itself in the process.
Although Browder programmed the bot according to UK law, he says it can be helpful in the US too. For example, if a flight is delayed from New York City to London, the ticket holder can use the robot to claim compensation. Browder is working to program US city laws into the bot, starting with NYC.
In the future, people won’t likely need to hire lawyers for simple legal appeals. They’ll just use a bot.
While Browder doesn’t think robots will be debating in the Supreme Court any time soon, he believes as artificial intelligence technology progresses, fewer lawyers will do mundane tasks.
« As a 19-year-old, I have coded the entirety of the robot on my own, and I think it does a reasonable job of replacing parking lawyers, » he says. « I know there are thousands of programmers with decades more experience than me working on similar issues. »
SOURCE : Tech Insider