A teenage student from north London has unveiled a free ‘robot lawyer’ service to help consumers with compensation claims.
The software, developed by 19-year-old Joshua Browder (pictured), asks users formatted questions and is designed to respond to answers, before deciding if the person has a legitimate claim. The case is then automatically processed on behalf of the claimant.
Browder’s site, donotpay.co.uk, makes refund claims for incorrect parking tickets and flight delays, and has had 137,000 users since it was set up last September, he said.
Browder, a computer science and economics student at Stanford University, California, says his project is not intended to take work away from lawyers, but instead to stop people paying for help in securing compensation when the process is simple enough to do themselves.
‘I don’t want to make anyone unemployed, I just want to automate a basic task so solicitors can move onto other, more complicated work,’ he said.
‘People are making money from [appealing] parking fines – they are glorified secretaries and they are exploiting people.’
The website is currently mainly used by Britons but Browder is developing software to allow it to recognise Arabic, with a view to answering basic immigration queries.
Browder, who is considering a career as a lawyer, was motivated to start the website after contesting a number of parking tickets.
It took five months to develop and the student insists he does not make any money from the project.
‘I’m doing this as a public service, I’m just looking to help people,’ he said. ‘As the robot talks to people it learns by itself better conversation skills. I want it to be as good as a regular lawyer charging hundreds of pounds, but at the moment it’s not quite there.’