The Robot Saves People and Kills Jobs

First appeared at GenFKD.

As industries race toward the technological automation of our future economy, Gen Y needs to hone its skills in order to not only make a positive impact but to not be left behind.

Case meet point: a bot combatting everything from parking tickets to homelessness is about to improve lives, but disrupt thousands of jobs.

DoNotPay

Joshua Browder knows the feeling of having finally mastered the art of parallel parking, only to be congratulated by a pink slip on the window. That’s why he created the first robot lawyer that helps you fight bogus parking tickets.

In the fall of 2015, Browder officially launched DoNotPay which allowed parking violators to generate customized letters of appeals that can be used to contest their award for shitty parking, bad timing, taking up an extra space, whatever.

“I think the people getting parking tickets are the most vulnerable in society,” reflected Browder to VentureBeat. “These people aren’t looking to break the law. I think they’re being exploited as a revenue source by the local government.”

 

With close to a 60 percent success rate, Browder has saved “innocent” drivers over $3 million worth of annoyingly expensive parking tickets.

Along with bringing DoNotPay to Seattle in the fall of 2016, Browder has also expanded the services to flight delay compensation and helping HIV patients understand their legal rights.

An email gave this young entrepreneur the idea to also focus his attention on evictions and repossessions that often are the main culprit behind homelessness.

The real deal social entrepreneurship

Imagine undergoing a medical procedure that requires at least a couple weeks of bedrest for recovery, however there is nowhere to go after being discharged because you were evicted a few days ago. Crazy, right? Well, this is the actual story of a fearful patient that landed in Browder’s inbox. This story hit him right in the feels, and seeing how he’s made such a positive impact in other areas by providing legal assistance, why not dive into this arena as well?

In Great Britain, government housing is available for the newly homeless. However, if you don’t know the process (like writing and filing your own application letter) or if you don’t have the money for legal help, many are S.O.L.

Evictions have soared in Great Britain and have had a slow recovery in the United States since the financial meltdown of 2008. DoNotPay expects to help eviction victims easily apply for temporary housing through their local governments, one jurisdiction at a time. Recently, the DoNotPay website is also attempting to branch out to help refugees apply for asylum.

The best part of all this is that this is all at no cost to the consumer. Like, zero dollars (or pounds depending on where you are). This type of entrepreneurship is the real deal.

Creative destruction

Browder, a computer science and economics major at Stanford, also understands (and is kind of excited) that his robot lawyer will almost completely eliminate the need for human attorneys to take on these cases, displacing an estimated 25,000 current and future legal advisors in the process.

” … this innovation may eventually push out a whole bunch of lawyers.”

Just as automated kiosks are pushing out human cashiers, and ATMs are pushing out bank tellers, and cell phones keep pushing away our loved ones (just kidding), this innovation may eventually push out a whole bunch of lawyers.

“I feel like there’s a gold mine of opportunities because so many services and information could be automated using AI, and bots are a perfect way to do that, and it’s disappointing at the moment that it’s mainly used for commerce transactions by ordering flowers and pizzas,” he said to VentureBeat. Tons of technological innovations and automation are on the way and despite how painful these industry disruptions are, the world will end up benefitting quite a bit.

Our take

It’s okay to be excited. This is a proof point that members of the most socially conscious generation ever are, like Browder, paving the way for a better world. In addition to DoNotPay’s potentially limitless legal help, issues like food security, water sanitation, healthcare and education are in the path of this wave of technological entrepreneurship.

While automation will inevitably disrupt labor economies across society, we can get ahead of the game by further educating ourselves and garnering the skills necessary to keep up with the fast-paced evolution of our industries.

Nonetheless, this is truly social entrepreneurship at its finest. Kudos, Browder. Kudos, Gen Y.

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