Is Teen Planning to Take Over the World by Replacing Lawyers with Robots?

Well, maybe not the world, but maybe parts of the UK. It all started last year when he launched a website to help people fight parking tickets.

18-year-old Joshua Browder, who is leaving London for a place at Stanford University this month and is clearly something of a budding tech genius, created donotpay.co.uk after falling victim to a series of parking tickets – a website that automatically generates parking ticket appeal letters using previously successful defenses as templates.

Now, he is back, taking things a step further by upgrading his robot lawyer to help the public deal with a range of other legal issues.

“The robot can currently handle parking ticket appeals, payment protection insurance (PPI) claims and delayed flights/trains,” Browder explained. “It can also answer some general legal questions (“I can’t afford my ticket. What do I do?”).

So how did he accomplish this? Advice from his professors, along with old fashion trial and error.

“I was fortunate to receive some advice from my professors,” he said.“Unlike the creation of the basic site, which took three weeks, making the robot seemed impossible.”

“Initially, I thought the best way to go about it was to create lots of individual rules for it to follow (e.g if one says ‘I got a ticket’ the robot says ‘What was wrong with your ticket?’),” Browder said. “However, I quickly failed with this approach because there are thousands of ways to say the same thing and it would be impossible to catch every one.”

“The breakthrough came when I learned how to create a way for the robot to learn and compare phrases itself, so that it doesn’t matter how the user phrases his or her requests,” he said.

Not sure if this will be the end of the world as we know it, but it goes to show how simple technology is changing the way people seek out advice.

The Do Not Pay Robot can be accessed by logging in to donotpay.co.uk.