A Robot Lawyer Has Successfully Defeated 160,000 Parking Tickets


Parking tickets might just be the most universally loathed annoyance in modern times. For most of us, it makes more sense to pay up than to take it to traffic court. But Joshua Browder, a 19-year-old Stanford student, has made fighting tickets not just simple, but incredibly effective.

Browder’s brainchild is called DoNotPay, and it’s a chatbot designed to deal with tickets in New York and London. It walks you through a few questions to determine whether an appeal is possible, and, if it is, takes you through the process of submitting one. Then, you just wait for the city to process your appeal. Since DoNotPay costs nothing, if you’ve got a ticket you might as well roll the dice

In nearly two years, a quarter of a million tickets have been contested with DoNotPay, and it’s overturned 160,000 of them, worth $4 million in fines. It’s likely to increase soon, as Browder is looking to add Seattle to the list and push the chatbot further into dealing with other frustratingly bureaucratic processes like flight delay compensation and navigating immigration departments.

Unfortunately, Browder may also be making some powerful enemies. A similar app called Fixed was so effective at contesting parking tickets, it’s currently blocked in three cities despite doing nothing illegal. Considering that in 2011 alone, New York made $600 million from parking tickets, it’s unlikely this robot lawyer will be allowed to keep practicing without a fight.

(via The Guardian)