THE LAWYER BOT responsible for overturning thousands of parking fines in the New York area has been re-purposed to assist those seeking asylum in the US, Canada in the UK.
DoNotPay, the brainchild of Stanford University student Joshua Browder, was always meant as the prototype for other bots, with asylum given as one of the possible use cases given at the time. "My degree has become a bit of a side project these days," he jokes.
Using Facebook Messenger, the bot can now ask questions that help it compile an asylum application form for the country in which they wish to reside. UK users can use it to apply for support but of course, our forms have to be filled out in person, because Britain.
The questions will identify if the applicant meets the criteria for asylum under international law, and then selects the right form to fill out.
"I've been trying to launch this for about six months - I initially wanted to do it in the summer. But I wanted to make sure I got it right because it's such a complicated issue. I kept showing it to lawyers throughout the process and I'd go back and tweak it." Browder told the Guardian.
"That took months and months of work, but we wanted to make sure it was right."
Browder adds that he added Canada to the mix at the last minute following ‘the change in the political landscape' during development. With Donald Trump yesterday announcing his second stab at a travel ban for Muslim countries, the new iteration couldn't be coming at a better time.
The questions are asked in plain English, but Browder hopes to add other languages and chat clients. This is particularly important as Facebook Messenger isn't end-to-end encrypted, though the DoNotPay leg of the transmission is, with data then deleted from servers within 10 minutes of finishing the application.
Other use cases currently being looked at are matters such as housing, mis-sold PPI. µ
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