We’ve managed to achieve some amazing things with technology these days. Autonomous vehicles, advanced prosthetic limbs, medical treatments that save lives, not to mention the multitude of media and entertainment applications. Even artificial intelligence, something that has long been considered nothing more than a science fiction fantasy, is quickly coming closer to a reality. So much so, in fact, that many are already making plans for a revolution in the workplace, where humans are replaced by counterparts made of chips and wire.
However, there are a few professions where people seem to think they are safe from the new robotic overlords. The kind of industries that apparently need a human touch and expertise: health care, marketing, and legal professionals, for example. However, even lawyers should be starting to feel the sweat bead on their forehead, as some parts of the job have already been replaced with computers. Step forward DoNotPay, a chatbot that has managed to combat the equivalent of $4 million worth of parking tickets across London and New York, entirely pro bono.
Designed by 19-year-old Stanford University student Joshua Browder, this clever little piece of software utilizes the formulaic nature of the parking ticket appeals process in order to make appeals that much easier for the average driver. Through a series of simple questions, the AI figures out whether a ticket can be appealed (e.g. “Were there any parking signs easily visible?”), then guides the user through the rest of the process, right through to the appeals process.
While the AI certainly isn’t quite ready to take on the rigors of the courtroom just yet, this kind of successful, practical use is the first steps towards such digital assistants becoming common in everyday life. Having won 64 percent of its cases, DoNotPay is proving itself to be a hit in both its home city of London and in New York, and there are now plans to expand coverage to Seattle as well.
However, Browder isn’t happy to only contend with parking tickets, as he reportedly has plans to create a similar version to assist people with flight delay compensation: Yet another irritating circumstance that many people do not know how to navigate easily. Here’s hoping these are just the first few of a series of successful AI lawyers!