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You have probably received a parking ticket that you felt was unfair, but instead of fighting it, you paid the expensive price to get rid of it quickly. Fighting a parking ticket sounds like it would be so time consuming that it is a better decision to just pay for it. When Joshua Browder was faced with this situation, his response was different. He decided there should be an automated solution to fighting parking tickets, and he made the user interface a chat bot.
It’s not obvious why a chat bot interface for fighting parking tickets makes sense, but in my discussion with Joshua, he explained that a chat bot interface is actually useful for a wide variety of legal services. The way that a lawyer interacts with a client is often so mechanistic as to be similar to a robot.
This episode was a fascinating episode that serves as a great follow-up to the recent shows on chat bots–ChatOps, Bot Day, and Slack Bots. Thanks again to O’Reilly for giving me a ticket to Bot Day last month, as it really got me thinking about chat bots as an important user interface.