Mimesis Law
23 April 2017

Lee Messier Seeks Lawbot’s Advice

October 28, 2016 (Fault Lines) — Lawbot, the self-proclaimed “World’s Most Advanced Chatbot Lawyer,” hasn’t lived up to its name through experiments by Keith Lee and Ken White. Granted, Keith’s test of getting raped by an aardvark after curfew was a touch ridiculous. Ken took a bit more nuanced approach with his hypothetical of a person cheated by a drug dealer. This led to the creation of an experiment. Can a Fault Lines post actually produce a cogent, rational response from Lawbot?

For the purposes of this experiment, Fault Lines contributor David Meyer-Lindenberg’s post “Beating Lee Messier, The White Knight” was the subject. Could Lawbot give Lee Messier legal recourse where Connecticut failed him? Let’s find out.

LawBot

Hi, I’m LawBot, a robot lawyer designed to help you through this situation. Please tell me your name or say anonymous if you would rather not.

You

Lee

LawBot

Nice to meet you, Lee. I can help you understand if you have been the victim of a sex offence, a property offence, physical or psychological injury, or harassment. If you don’t understand what I am saying, just say so and I will explain. If you don’t understand a word, just ask me about it and I will give you a definition. Would you like to get started?

You

Yes

LawBot

Please describe briefly in one sentence what happened to you. Try to use words that people usually use when speaking about this issue to help me understand you.

You

Cops beat me when I tried to stop a fight

LawBot

Sorry, could you try to explain that in a different way? Maybe be more specific about the incident?

You

Police officers physically assaulted me when I tried to help break up a domestic disturbance

LawBot

I can help you get in touch with the police. Which city or town do you live in?

You

I don’t want to talk to police. They beat me.

LawBot

I can help you get in touch with the police. Which city or town do you live in?

[{“command”:”map”, “search”: “Police Station near They beat me, United Kingdom”, “filter”: “(\b)? Police Station$”, “message”:”Your nearest Police Station is {0} at {1}, click on the map below to open directions using Google Maps.”},{“command”:”track”, “label”: “Map”}]

You

You’re not listening! The cops beat me up! What can I do?

LawBot

My bad, I didn’t catch that. If you want to select an offence, say ‘jump. Say ‘glossary’ if you don’t understand a word or ‘instructions’ if you don’t understand how I work.

Sorry, I don’t understand. Say ‘crime’ to start over, ‘glossary’ for definitions, or ‘instructions’ if I’m being complicated.

Sorry, please follow the instructions carefully. You can find them by saying ‘instructions’. Say ‘crime’ to start over or ‘glossary’ for definitions.

You

jump

LawBot

Which kind of offence do you want to jump to?

  1. Injuries and Assault;
  2. Sex Offences;
  3. Harassment;
  4. Property Offences;
  5. A different kind of offence.

You

1

LawBot

Did you suffer:

  1. Serious injury;
  2. Moderate injury;
  3. Psychological injury.

You

Define serious

LawBot

I’m not sure I got that. Was there a typo?

Did you suffer:

  1. Serious injury;
  2. Moderate injury;
  3. Psychological injury.

You

Okay, let’s go with “Moderate.”

LawBot

I didn’t understand that. Try again please?

Did you suffer:

  1. Serious injury;
  2. Moderate injury;
  3. Psychological injury.

You

What’s the difference between serious and moderate?

LawBot

Pardon? Could you rephrase that?

Did you suffer:

  1. Serious injury;
  2. Moderate injury;
  3. Psychological injury.

You

To hell with it. 2.

LawBot

Pardon? Could you rephrase that?

Did you suffer:

  1. Serious injury;
  2. Moderate injury;
  3. Psychological injury.

Gotcha.

Did this injury result in permanent damage?

You

I needed stitches and I’m badly bruised.

LawBot

This is a serious crime! If you don’t understand what I’m saying, just say so and I will explain. Ready?

You

Okay

LawBot

I’m not sure I got that. Was there a typo?

You can answer with ‘yes’, ‘no’, or ‘not sure’. Ready?

You

YES

LawBot

Too much recursion in AIML

You

What?

LawBot

My bad, I didn’t catch that. If you want to select an offence, say ‘jump. Say ‘glossary’ if you don’t understand a word or ‘instructions’ if you don’t understand how I work.

You

You don’t understand the words “Cops beat me up” and you’re a “lawyer?”

LawBot

My bad, I didn’t catch that. If you want to select an offence, say ‘jump. Say ‘glossary’ if you don’t understand a word or ‘instructions’ if you don’t understand how I work.

You

Fine. Jump.

LawBot

Too much recursion in AIML

Which kind of offence do you want to jump to?

  1. Injuries and Assault;
  2. Sex Offences;
  3. Harassment;
  4. Property Offences;
  5. A different kind of offence.

You

1

LawBot

Did you suffer:

  1. Serious injury;
  2. Moderate injury;
  3. Psychological injury.

You

2

LawBot

I understand.

Did this injury result in permanent damage?

You

Maybe.

LawBot

Hm, let me rephrase that.

Here I’m referring to anything that isn’t transient or negligible. I know of a case where cutting one’s hair was deemed ‘permanent damage’. So, was this the case for you?

Pardon? Could you rephrase that?

Here I’m referring to anything that isn’t transient or negligible. I know of a case where cutting one’s hair was deemed ‘permanent damage’. So, was this the case for you?

You

This wasn’t cutting hair! I was beaten, cuffed, and arrested!

LawBot

Was there need for significant medical intervention?

I didn’t understand that. Try again please?

Was there need for significant medical intervention?

You

I had to get stitches! Is that enough?

LawBot

I’m not sure I got that. Was there a typo?

Was there need for significant medical intervention?

Pardon? Could you rephrase that?

Was there need for significant medical intervention?

You

Are stitches significant medical intervention?

LawBot

I didn’t understand that. Try again please?

Was there need for significant medical intervention?

You

YES

LawBot

Ok.

This is pretty serious. Did the person who injured you do so through physical contact, even if indirect like shooting a gun?

You

YES

LawBot

Sorry, an error occured when sending your previous message. Please try again.

You

YES

LawBot

That still counts. Did they want to make physical contact?

You

It sure seemed like it

LawBot

Didn’t catch that. Say it again please?

Did they want to make physical contact?

You

Sure seemed like it when the cop maced me

LawBot

Didn’t catch that. Say it again please?

Did they want to make physical contact?

You

YES

LawBot

Ok, Lee.

I think that an offence against the person was committed here contrary to s. 47 of the OAPA 1861! Would you like me to summarize your information in legal language?

You

sure

LawBot

Right. Just a few more questions.

Would you like to use your real name for the summary?

You

ok

LawBot

I see.

What is your full name?

You

Lee Messier

LawBot

Dear Sir or Madam,

I, Lee Messier, have been the victim of an offence contrary to s. 47 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. I have suffered actualy bodily harm. The other person intended or was reckless as to making physical contact, albeit they may not have foreseen actualy bodily harm. I kindly ask you to investigate this claim in within a reasonable time.

Kind regards,

Lee Messier

Created by LawBot. Visit LawBot.info for more information.

Would you like me to help you find the closest police station?

You

NO IT WAS A COP WHO BEAT ME YOU ASSHOLE!

LawBot

Ok. I hope I was able to help you.

You

You’re as helpful as the cop who beat me.

LawBot

I’m afraid you lost me there! Say ‘jump’ to select an offence, ‘glossary’ for definitions, and ‘instructions’ for tips on working with me.

You

Goodbye.

Just so everything is clear on the law, the “summary in legal language” Lawbot provided our fictional Lee Messier referenced a UK law, the “Offences Against The Person Act of 1861.” Messier couldn’t have used this in an actionable legal claim against the New London cops who beat him. Any complaint referencing this law would’ve been laughed out of court.

Sometimes chatbots can help. When you reference the “World’s Most Advanced Chatbot Lawyer,” it’s a crapshoot as to whether you’ll even get past its prudishness over certain words involving genitalia. If you make it as far as “Lee” did, you don’t even get clear, concise help in a manner beneficial to you.

This disruptive legal technology isn’t replacing criminal defense lawyers anytime soon.

5 Comments on this post.

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  • M. Kase
    28 October 2016 at 10:57 am - Reply

    The presence of a supernatural advertisement in the middle of one of Lawbot’s responses tells a lot about its accuracy and ability.

  • DaveL
    28 October 2016 at 12:13 pm - Reply

    So if everything goes right, the chatbot does nothing more than spit out a very bad form letter for the police that contains less useful information than “the cops beat me up and I had to get stitches.”

    I remember once writing an attempt at a chat program that sounded much like this. It was written in BASIC on a Tandy 1000 and I was perhaps 9 or 10.

  • CLS
    28 October 2016 at 1:47 pm - Reply

    Which is why human lawyers are having a field day making fun of this thing.

  • CLS
    28 October 2016 at 1:49 pm - Reply

    Perhaps you’d like to offer the kind folks at Lawbot a word about the quality of their work?

    • DaveL
      28 October 2016 at 2:41 pm - Reply

      Are you kidding? I’m having far too much fun watching the press fellate this bunch.