Robot Lawyer Is Now Offering Free Help to Refugees

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DoNotPay—the world's premier AI lawyer—is now coming to the aid of refugees seeking asylum in the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom. All they have to do is strike up a Facebook Messenger conversation with DoNotPay by simply typing "start." From there, the free program will help guide users through the process of filing for asylum. On the program's Facebook page, it boasts, "Our service allows anyone to automatically claim asylum in the U.S, U.K and Canada for free (instantly)."

Joshua Browder, the creator of DoNotPay, has been working on this new refugee asylum service for months. The platform originally began as a way for people to get free legal advice for getting out of parking tickets. DoNotPay was successful to the tune of about 160,000 overturned tickets in 21 months—with a 64 percent success rate. It's also helped with housing issues, transportation disputes, and payment protection insurance. Still, the messy legal waters surrounding refugees will be its toughest task yet.

Through Facebook Messenger, DoNotPay will help people file and submit asylum applications in the U.S. and Canada, and for the UK, it helps people apply for asylum support. Once a conversation is initiated, the chatbot will ask users a series of questions in order to help them fill the forms out properly. The information gathered is then used to autofill the forms to avoid mistakes. For this all to work, the program had to understand the intricacies of each country's ever-changing laws. Browder even included Canada as an option following the 2016 United States presidential election. All of these complexities meant a lot of fine-tuning.

“I’ve been trying to launch this for about six months—I initially wanted to do it in the summer," Browder told The Guardian. "I kept showing it to lawyers throughout the process and I’d go back and tweak it. That took months and months of work, but we wanted to make sure it was right.”

For a little more peace of mind regarding DoNotPay's use of Facebook Messenger, everyone's information is deleted on the program's end within 10 minutes after an application is filed. The next step for Browder is to move the program to other services, including WhatsApp, and to offer it in multiple languages. Currently, he's working on an Arabic translation for it.

[h/t The Guardian]