Skip to Content

Your own robo-caller never gets bored dialing automated services for you

October 10, 2018

Startup DoNotPay has created an automated service that’ll call the California DMV, the vehicle agency, to shorten your wait time for an appointment from months to days.

How it’s been done: Right now, to get a DMV appointment in California you either have to book directly and wait weeks until your date or pay a service to look for a cancellation.

The robots are calling: DoNotPay, a startup that provides easier ways to navigate the legal system, has created an app that deploys an automated robocaller to get you an earlier reservation. After the user inputs some basic information, it calls the DMV’s automated phone line to set up an appointment. To manage an earlier date, the bot then continues to call up to 1,000 times a day to see if a cancellation becomes available. (Listen in on one of the calls here.)

Human vs. bot: Yesterday, Google announced that it was granting more powers to a similar robocalling assistant known as Google Duplex, a human-sounding AI that makes reservations on your behalf. The system now identifies itself to human callers as a bot, following initial ethical concerns that arose when the service was first announced in May.

Bot vs. bot: Unlike Duplex, DoNotPay’s system is designed only to pit machines against each other. “I think it is unethical to have bots talking to humans on the phone, and this technology will only be used to talk to other bots,” says founder Joshua Browder (who was named one of our 2017 35 Innovators Under 35).

What’s next? The company is already testing the service for passport applications, Social Security services, and dealing with large corporations. “The DMV is the first step in making all government services automated and instant,” says Browder.

Deep Dive


Our best illustrations of 2022

Our artists’ thought-provoking, playful creations bring our stories to life, often saying more with an image than words ever could.

How CRISPR is making farmed animals bigger, stronger, and healthier

These gene-edited fish, pigs, and other animals could soon be on the menu.

The Download: the Saudi sci-fi megacity, and sleeping babies’ brains

This is today’s edition of The Download, our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s going on in the world of technology. These exclusive satellite images show Saudi Arabia’s sci-fi megacity is well underway In early 2021, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia announced The Line: a “civilizational revolution” that would house up…

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2023

Every year, we pick the 10 technologies that matter the most right now. We look for advances that will have a big impact on our lives and break down why they matter.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.