A Kenyan IT expert Naftali Obwoni has developed an artificial intelligence chatbot to help local residents navigate the law and seek justice in the country’s legal system, the VOA reported Friday.
Known as Wakili, which means lawyer, Obwoni was inspired to create the AI tool because of how people, including his father, struggle to get justice.
AI Chatbot to Guide Kenyans to Access The Legal System
Only one out of ten Kenyans seek justice in the government court, according to the report. This poor representation is due to a number of reasons, including the lack of understanding of Kenya’s law processes and the legal cost of hiring a lawyer.
Wakili is designed to mitigate these hurdles. Not only is Wakili easy to access, but it also provides information on all legal matters and guides users on how to access the legal system – more like virtual legal assistance.
“Wakili is basically a chatbot…where you can go if you have any issues. It might not even be directly law-related, but related to things that you face in society, and you want to know your course of action, and you need guidance,” Obwoni said.
The developer said Wakili understand all the laws of the country and would interpret them for users rather than merely listing them.
“It [Wakili] understands all laws in Kenya, meaning whether it is customary, whether it’s civil, criminal, property, land, all those laws. It already understands them,” Obwoni said. “It doesn’t list you the laws, it interprets for you.”
The chatbot reportedly recorded more than 2,800 user engagements about a week after it launched. Some of the users have been individuals, including organizations and business owners, who found Wakili to be faster and more cost-effective in drafting clients’ agreements.
AI vs. Lawyers
There was scepticism among some lawyers who feared that the encroachment of AI in the legal field could impact their earnings. However, some others were receptive to the AI tool, saying it has helped to cut down their research by narrowing down legal information on specific matters.
While some legal professionals may have reservations about AI, it’s undeniable that the technology has the potential to resolve productivity issues, even among lawyers.
In September, Cryptopolitan reported that one of the leading UK law firms, Allen & Overy, has deployed an AI chatbot across its 43 offices to handle certain legal tasks, including contract analysis, due diligence and regulatory compliance.