"Village Lawyer," by Pieter Brueghel the Younger, 1621.
"Village Lawyer," by Pieter Brueghel the Younger, 1621. (source: Web Gallery of Art on Wikimedia Commons)

In episode five of the O’Reilly Bots podcast, Pete Skomoroch and I speak with Joshua Browder, the 19-year old founder and CEO of DoNotPay, a series of bots that help people with legal issues, including challenging parking tickets, challenging bank charges, and claiming government assistance for homelessness. Dubbed “the world’s first robot lawyer,” his bots have attracted 260,000 users and provided 175,000 successful parking-ticket appeals.

Browder will also be a featured speaker at O’Reilly Bot Day on October 19, 2016, in San Francisco.

We discuss what happens when someone files a challenge through DoNotPay: the bot asks jurisdiction-based questions about the user’s specific circumstances, then goes through a decision tree to find the best possible defense, after which it creates a personalized challenge letter. We also cover the potential of these bots as replacements for lawyers; in fact, Browder is developing a legal platform that others can use to develop “lawyer bots.”

Bot of the week

Pete and I walk through some of the bots that Microsoft has released recently, including MurphyBot (“the robot with imagination”), which responds to hypothetical questions by delivering an image; Your Face, which analyzes a photo of your face and delivers an insult; and Summarize, which creates short summaries of articles. We also talk about How Old, last year’s precursor to Microsoft’s recent image-related bots.