Science

Hail the "robot lawyer" that has no degree or expertise

23 Jul 2017 | By Anish Chakraborty
Robot lawyer, once demystified, is plain stupid

Modern day journalism, in a bid to make things "jazzy," sometimes presents things in a very different light.

So when someone claimed to have built an AI engine that would take the jobs of all the lawyers in the world, news outlets couldn't stop gushing about it.

What got lost is the fact it's a poor excuse for a lawyer.

Here's how it happened.

In context: Robot lawyer, once demystified, is plain stupid

23 Jul 2017Hail the "robot lawyer" that has no degree or expertise

RobotWhat are you peddling to me?

Joshua Browder's claim is that he has built "the world's first robot lawyer." The chatbot will provide legal advice to all the people in need across the world disrupting, what he estimates, to be a $200 billion industry.

Browder told The Verge that his agenda was to make "the law free" and, therefore, "some of the biggest law firms can't be happy!"

But, wait.

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When you take a peek behind the curtain

DoNotPayWhen you take a peek behind the curtain

So what goes into this maverick AI? A deep intricate neural network complete with years of R&D and machine learning. Nope, that's not it.

Browder created DoNotPay by making a bot builder to drag and drop documents and recruited volunteers and part-time lawyers to fill in the legal nitty-gritty of it.

There's been a fundamental flaw in the system from the very beginning.

DoctorSo this happened

Imagine a patient is lying on an operation table. One man, who looks like a doctor, comes to him and says, "Listen, I am not a doctor but I have read books and I have met medical students. So, this should be easy." The patient agrees and everything goes fine. Sounds odd, doesn't it?

Precisely, this is what is wrong with the "robot lawyer."

LegalIt's not a bad idea, it's a disaster

Other than the obvious, this legal advice doesn't come with responsibility. If you end up on the wrong side of the bars, this will not bail you out.

It just spews automated responses to certain key words that have been shoved into its algorithm. Moreover, if you ask for in-depth advice, it ends up showing Google links.

LawyerLet's come down to the brass tacks

So 'Do not pay' those, who have degrees, take liability for statements, present arguments in court and have attained expertise at the cost of several years into the field.

However, trust a "robot lawyer" chatbot with no degrees, no liability, no capability to present arguments and no expertise, whatsoever.

If this 'chatbot' is meant as a joke, it's a very bad one.