There are some moments in life that rejuvenate your faith in humanity, and this might be one of them. For those of you who have ever been on the receiving end of a parking ticket, you'll wish you'd known about this incredible innovation. This perfect human being has managed to create a robot lawyer to get you out of them.
Of course, it is all too easy to simply pay them off within the "discount" period, but if you know you weren't in the wrong it is incredibly frustrating. There is also the hidden cost of the time it takes to appeal them. Frankly, most of us have better things to do with our time.
Those days are now over. Winter has come for parking tickets with Joshua Browder's little helper.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man
Joshua was getting so annoyed with getting parking tickets that he knew he didn't deserve, not to mention the time lost appealing them, that he decided to deal them a decisive blow. He set out to build his own robot lawyer to not only help himself but others.
To date, so it's said, he has managed to appeal and succeed in getting 160,000 victims off parking fines in London, as of June 2016.
"I was given a few tickets shortly after I passed my test. I successfully appealed them, but it was a long and frustrating process. I thought there had to be an easier way and that's when I came up with this." Joshua told Ladbible.
"I honestly didn't expect it to become as huge as it has. I thought maybe a few of my friends would use it and save themselves some money." he continued.
No nonsense solution
Joshua went on to explain that lawyers generally give generic advice. Effectively cut and paste responses and procedures. His DoNotPay cuts out a lot of the nonsense historically involved in fighting fines.
The best part is, unlike lawyers, that his robot lawyer is free for anyone to use and very intuitive.
"In the future, I'm hoping to expand it to cover other areas. So, people could get married or divorced, apply for citizenship, submit applications for pensions and benefits, there are so many possibilities," Joshua explains.
It's not 100% guaranteed though. With its current users with parking tickets, the success rate is around 55%. Considering the service is free to use, it is definitely worth taking the chance to avoid those annoying fines. Especially if you believe you have a legitimate reason for not paying.
Joshua has managed to expand the systems services since it first launched. It is now set up to deal with around 1000 legal issues all-in-all. Legal issues it covers range from dealing with nuisance callers to settling disputes with landlords. It even has solutions for what to do if your credit card is stolen or how to contest insurance claims.
Joshua currently lives in the U.S. and is a student at Stanford University. He is originally from London. When building his robot lawyer, Joshua hired the services of three human lawyers to help him with the legal mumbo-jumbo. The rest he coded himself at the age of 19.
DoNotPay covers legal issues in the UK and well as over 50 states in the U.S. He has plans to expand this to the rest of the world, so watch this space.
The gift that keeps on giving
Not content with providing an as-built robot lawyer, Joshua has also made it possible for a company, charity, organization or individual to build their own versions. You don't even need massive amounts of technical knowledge. If you want to see for yourself you can find it here.
For some smaller businesses, this could potentially save a lot of money on legal issues. Definitely, something to mull over.
Of course, his endeavors have attracted some backlash from legal professionals. "Lawyers hate me," Joshua explains.
Lawyers, being the highly pedantic people that they are, that's no criticism they need to be, have quickly pointed out that it is not a "robot" at all. It's simply a chatbot that can't offer help, advice or guidance in the same way a human can. It can't visit you in jail, for instance.
Joshua is the first to admit the limitations of his robot lawyer but he is also keen to note that, in the areas it covers, it is very accurate.
Of course, lawyers shouldn't really feel threatened by this legal bot, just yet. For more serious legal issues like murder cases, divorce, buying and selling a property, lawyers are safe for the foreseeable future.
Especially for complex legal matters, at least for now.
The final word
Joshua wants to expand his AI lawyer chatbot's capabilities further. He is already looking into flight delay compensation as well as helping HIV positive patients understand their legal rights. Joshua also hopes to have the bot act as a guide for refugees navigating foreign legal systems.
On one hand, Joshua's robot lawyer is a useful, free, "might as well have a punt" chatbot that could save you a pretty penny. On the other hand, his innovation shows us that chatbots have more potential than helping you find a new pair of shoes or generally bugging you when browsing websites.