'Robot lawyer' that overturned 160,000 parking tickets now helping refugees

A chat bot that helped overturn 160,000 parking tickets is now giving free legal aid to asylum-seeking refugees through Facebook.

DoNotPay, which has been dubbed the world’s first robot lawyer, was created by London-born Stanford University student Joshua Browder.

The 20-year-old, who has made Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list of the brightest young entrepreneurs, designed his first bot to help people fight parking fines.

Now the ‘Robin Hood of the internet’ has just expanded the chat bot to Facebook Messenger to help refugees in the US, Canada and the UK claim asylum.

“Ultimately, I just want to level the playing field so there’s a bot for everything,” he told Business Insider.

“I originally started with parking tickets and delayed flights and all sorts of trivial consumer rights issues,” he added. “But then I began to be approached by these non-profits and lawyers who said the idea of automating legal services is bigger than just a few parking fines. So I’ve since tried to expand into doing something more humanitarian.”

The bot asks users a series of questions in real time, such as “Have you, your family or colleagues ever experienced harm or threats?”

It helps refugees seeking asylum in the United States or Canada complete the necessary forms and those applying in the UK, who will then have to apply in person, with the support documents.

Browder watched hours of YouTube tutorial videos to create the chat bot, explaining: “It was a huge challenge.”

He added: “The success of the parking tickets has made me realise this is bigger than parking charges. I think there’s a real value in providing free legal help through a chat bot.”


 


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