18 APRIL 2022 / CODE
At the Open Legal Lab 2022, new digital solutions for the Swiss legal system were developed in interdisciplinary teams within 32 hours. A variety of exciting projects were presented and I personally participated in two of these projects (combined).
The hackathon started for me after a detoured car ride with a cosy coffee in the reception hall, where I was already able to make the first exciting contacts. There was an interesting exchange about the digitalisation process in courts, with solutions from Germany, Austria and Switzerland (especially Justitia 4.0) being the topic. Then we soon started with organisational information and in a few minutes the various challenges were presented. For me, many of the challenges were very interesting. For almost selfish reasons (as a big Twitter consumer), the Twitterbot that shares BGEs was one of my favourites. But my great interest in AI also resonated, had to compete with the recognition of text templates and hold out against my front-end motivation for a criminal-charges-generator. In the end, three of my favourites joined forces: The Twitterbot was combined with AI-generated summaries and the text modules. The choice was therefore easy.
The Twitterbot was supposed to be just a side project. A quick win, so to speak. A quick mistake, as it turned out. So we spent almost the entire first day (until about 10pm to be precise) testing various AIs. Unfortunately, none of the tools with the current experiments produced the desired solutions (after looking further into these models after the hackothon, I feel that with a little more time, very reliable results would have been achievable). When we started with the Twitterbot in the evening, the first version in R was ready in the first two hours. Now we tried to rewrite it in NodeJS to run a serverless function. But that's where the first problems arose. The requests to the BGer website were suddenly rejected. We tried different clients, tried to simulate a browser with headers, but nothing worked. With C#, however, it suddenly worked again. So we rewrote the bot again, since serverless functions were also possible with C#. Since Martin already had experience with Azure, this turned out to be the best decision. But suddenly the requests of the C# bot were also rejected. I therefore tried to set up the bot again with a headerless browser (Puppeteer). Fortunately, before this second NodeJS solution was completed, the C# bot was functional again and could be finalised. Due to the (for the hackathon too long and complicated) process to get a Twitter API key, we used the service IFTTT. Now the Twitterbot is running and we split the IFTTT costs for the first year. Ultimately a success, but definitely not an easy side project as originally thought.
The results of the Open Legal Lab 2022 were presented at the Magglingen Legal Informatics Seminar in the auditorium of the Swiss Federal Institute of Sports Magglingen on Monday, 28 March 2022, starting at 3 pm. All info about the presentation of our project, the repos etc. can be found at the following link: iusable.ch/bge-twitterbot