Most drivers can say that they’ve gotten at least one ticket in their lifetimes. Whether it was for speeding or parking in the wrong spot, most can agree that navigating the legal system of traffic tickets is a hard one. Traffic lawyers can cost up to several hundred dollars depending on the case, meaning that just paying the ticket, whether it’s justified or not, is less of a hassle. But with chatbots and artificial intelligence (AI), Stanford student Joshua Browder developed DoNotPay, a program that helps drivers get out of tickets.
It all started when the 19 year-old got several traffic tickets of his own. After going through the traffic law process several times himself, he began developing an approach that seemed to work.
Browder began programming, and three months later, DoNotPay was born. It is a chatbot similar to what one would find on a tech website. It asks a series of straightforward questions like “How fast were you going?”, “Could you see the signs?”, and other simple yes-or-no questions. Based on the answers given, the bot then creates a grounds of appeal tailored to the user’s case.
DoNotPay is free, requiring only a sign up. So far, it has helped fight and win 160,000 out of 250,000 ticket cases, saving a total of 4 million dollars.
“I think the people getting parking tickets are the most vulnerable in society,” Browder told VentureBeat. “These people aren’t looking to break the law. I think they’re being exploited as a revenue source by the local government.”
Currently, the bot is only available in the United Kingdom and in New York, but Browder is looking to expand the program into Seattle.
The program is a considerable leap in technology – it’s “The World’s First Robot Lawyer”, as it states on the site’s opening page. For now, it can only handle straightforward traffic tickets because of its conversational platform.
Browder, however, wants to expand the “robot lawyer” title further. He is working on creating lawyer bots for those with HIV and for refugees looking for asylum.
DoNotPay is only the first step to a world where AI helps those in need. Strides are already being made to create AI with a much more complex understanding of questions asked of it. Pat.ai, a new AI created by the tech company Pat, has demonstrated its knowledge of Natural Language Processing, which gives it the abilities to know context and be up-to-date on related events.
“I feel like there’s a gold mine of opportunities because so many services and information could be automated using AI,” Browder said, “and bots are a perfect way to do that, and it’s disappointing at the moment that it’s mainly used for commerce transactions by ordering flowers and pizzas.”
By Nathalie Mairena