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Tuesday July 25, 2017

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The 'robot lawyer’ giving free legal advice to refugees

Joshua Browder developed DoNotPay he called it “the world’s first robot lawyer”. It’s a chatbot – a computer program that carries out conversations through texts or vocal commands – and it uses Facebook Messenger to gather information about a case before spitting out advice and legal documents.

And, this fact is proven by the very large numbers of people (about 65 million) who were forced to leave their homes to seek a better life for themselves and for their children. But, fortunately, where authorities failed, there were some private initiatives that came up with creative solutions.

The robot lawyer addresses the refugees a series of questions that allows him to find out what forms they have available or whether they are eligible for protection.

Furthermore, the robot lawyer uses the information available to automatically complete the forms and also deals with sending the papers on the behalf of his clients.

The same young entrepreneur, aged only 19 years, announced he is working on a system that allows artificial intelligence to help refugees understand the legal procedures of the country where they are located in.

Currently, the lawyer bot is available via the Facebook Messenger app, making it accessible to Android and Apple device users. Browder says that he hopes to roll the service out to more languages and apps in the future, including Whatsapp.

DoNotPay got plenty of attention after it was first launched in March 2016, and Browder says hundreds of thousands of people have used the app to challenge parking tickets. His own brushes with traffic police inspired him to create the bot.

“When I started driving at 18, I began to receive a large number of parking tickets and created the the service as a side project,” he says, “I could never have imagined that just over a year later, it would successfully appeal over 250,000 tickets.”

Some tech industry experts say that Browder’s creation may struggle to achieve the same level of popularity with asylum seekers.

“Browder’s chatbot is a great example of tech to help those in need,” says Oliver Smith, senior reporter at tech and business site The Memo. “However, as refugees are often among the least internet-connected groups in society, a Facebook chatbot may not be the best way to help them. 

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