The “world’s first robot lawyer” created by a British teenager has overturned 160,000 parking tickets in London and New York, saving those fined about £3 million pounds.
The chatbot designed to help people dispute parking violations in just 30 seconds has negated 160,000 fines since its launch last year.
‘DoNotPay’ is the brainchild of 19-year-old Joshua Browder, originally from London. Browder, who is currently in his second year at Stanford University, describes the chatbot as “the world’s first robot lawyer”.
The chatbot, which is free to use, took Browder three months to create between school and university.
“It was a huge challenge,” he was quoted as saying. He watched hours of YouTube tutorials and spoke to machine learning experts to create the intelligent robot that could understand human messages.
Browder initially designed the DoNotPay bot as a “pet project” for family and friends after being issued 30 parking tickets. But after it gained traction in London he made it available across the UK and New York, with Seattle to follow soon.
“It’s really difficult as every city has different laws. The US parking authorities are less likely to dismiss tickets. In the UK they’re a lot more fair,” he said.
The robot asks a series of questions designed to work out if a ticket can be appealed, including whether there were clear visible parking signs or if the driver was travelling to hospital urgently. After determining that an appeal is viable, it then walks the user through the steps of appeal.
“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. I think the people getting parking tickets are the most vulnerable in society,” Browder told Venture Beat.
It is currently only available through the DoNotPay website, but Browder is in talks with Facebook to incorporate it in the Messenger app. Over 250,000 people have used the service so far, according to Browder.
Of the £2.9 million worth of tickets overturned, about 150,000 were in London. In the UK around 10 million parking tickets are issued a year, generating millions of pounds in revenue for local councils.
DoNotPay’s service also has a selection of pictures of unclear or confusing road markings taken from Google Maps to help motorists with relevant claims.
Browder plans to expand the artificial intelligence lawyer, which can also work out compensation for delayed flights, to help vulnerable groups navigate complicated legal systems, including people who are HIV positive and refugees in foreign countries.
(Feature Image Source: Twitter)