Chatbots have traditionally been pretty useless – whether they barely understand the language, or they end up spewing racist insanities, the technology hasn’t really proved it can be useful. Until recently that is, as a “chatbot lawyer” has proven AI chatbots can be of real benefit to users. It did so by taking on legal cases against local municipalities and winning – 160,000 times.
The chatbot lawyer, as the DoNotPay app is informally known, was developed by a young student at Stanford University, after the coder received numerous parking tickets. Seeing that the appeals process for such fines is straightforward and formulaic, the software engineer decided to build an app that would help people looking to appeal parking ticket.
The app, which is freely available, works by asking the user a series of questions to see whether there’s a basis for an appeal. It then guides the user through the appeals process, helping out every step of the way.
Since its original launch more than a year ago, the DoNotPay app has reportedly taken on the local municipalities over 250,000 times and won 160,000 out of those cases. That’s a 64% win rate, or millions of dollars in overturned fees. Not bad for a free chatbot.
Unfortunately, the app only works in London and New York right now, but its creator says he’s eyeing Seattle for an upcoming expansion. And that’s not all, as the young software engineer envisions a platform that could help in all kinds of legal matters, like dealing with compensation for delayed flights. In future he also believes the platform could help refugees and immigrants navigate through a country’s legal system and understand their rights and obligations better.