Getting back from lunch to find a parking ticket can ruin your day, especially if you think you did nothing wrong. If you’re in this situation and lack the necessary resources to challenge the ticket in court, a 19-year-old British student at Stanford University has got your back. He programmed a robot lawyer that has so far been used by 250,000 people who successfully challenged 160,000 parking tickets.
Bots as a public service
Called the Do Not Pay Bot, the service works like a chat bot which asks a series of questions in order to determine whether your claim is just or not. Things like whether there were any traffic signs visible when the fine was issued or the size of a parking space.
Right now it only works in the U.K. and New York, in the United States. Thousands, however, are already reaping the benefits of this simple, but highly effective use of artificial intelligence which launched only a few months ago.
“I think the people getting parking tickets are the most vulnerable in society,” said the bot’s maker, Joshua Browder. “These people aren’t looking to break the law. I think they’re being exploited as a revenue source by the local government.”
“I’m very surprised it has been so successful, but I am not surprised that so many people have pushed back against their parking tickets.”
Browder is now working on a similar bot that helps HIV patients understand their legal rights; one that helps passengers of delayed flights receive compensation; and another that helps Syrian refugees by producing English documents based on Arabic text.
“I feel like there’s a gold mine of opportunities because so many services and information could be automated using AI, 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,” he said.
Now, more youngsters like Browder, please. Get off your butt!