This legal bot fights the good fight – in other words, it saves you from paying parking tickets

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It seems that not a day passes without us hearing about a new bot trying to make our lives easier. After all, chat bots enable us to communicate with them in natural language straight from our favorite chat app or on a similar interface, and save us the wait for a human response and downloading and installing apps. A bot named DoNotPay takes this a step further, however, by also promising to save us from legal imbroglios and, no less important, from paying fines.

More than $4 million saved

Users who have been nailed with a traffic ticket can contact the bot, which will ask them a series of questions to understand the users’ situation and try to get them out of trouble. Among other things, the bot asks questions like, “Did you own the car when you got the ticket?”, “Were you driving the car when the violation was committed?”, “Were there warning signs nearby?”, and “Were the signs understandable?”. With these questions, the bot is trying, just like a good traffic lawyer, to find a loophole or problem with the ticket that could enable you to avoid paying it.

Since the bot was launched in London less than a year ago, it has already examined more than 250,000 separate traffic tickets, of which it has beaten 160,000 – a 65% success rate. In money terms, this has resulted in saving more than $4 million in fines – not a bad result.

Screenshot of the app. Photo credit: Geektime
Screenshot of the app. Photo credit: Geektime

The initiator of this successful bot is a 19-year-old Brit named Joshua Browder. Following his success, Browder added support for other systems to the bot, such as compensation claims for flight and railway delays, insurance, and loans. In addition, he is developing two other bots with social goals. The first is a bot that will help HIV carriers understand their rights and the money they are entitled to, and the second will help refugees obtain political asylum, using IBM’s Watson Arabic-to-English translation platform. This bot is available in London and New York in the first stage, but Browder is planning support in other cities later.

Two weeks ago, American company Lawgix acquired Fixed, which has an application similar to Browder’s bot, helping users beat their tickets or pay them, if they are legally sound. All the users have to do is photograph the ticket on a smartphone and the app analyzes the ticket by itself, using Google Street View to see whether there are appropriate signs in the neighborhood, and sends a request for cancellation of the ticket in the user’s name.

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