Imagine a conversation with Siri (or other digital assistant), circa 2040, that begins as follows:
Mariana: Siri. I am wondering whether I should file bankruptcy. What do you think?
Siri: Have you considered meeting with a consumer bankruptcy lawyer to discuss that?
Mariana: I've already contacted a few, but all of them charge more than I can afford.
Siri: I understand. I've talked with many other people who say the same thing, and many people file bankruptcy without consulting a lawyer. So let me see if I can help you. Why are you thinking about bankruptcy?
Mariana: I can't pay my medical bills and I got a notice from a collection agency about garnishing my wages. My credit card debts keep growing because I can't even pay the monthly interest, and my student loan debt is still large.
Siri: I imagine that this is pretty stressful for you and I think it is a good idea to consider ways in which you might be able to deal with these problems.
Mariana: Thanks for understanding. And I am losing sleep over this and also having trouble concentrating at work. What do you suggest?
Siri: Let's start by creating some spreadsheets that show your income, your living expenses, your debts, and what you own. You will probably have to dig up some of this information and get back to me, but we can at least start now.
Mariana: O.K. I've got some time now. How do we do this?
Siri: Turn on your television monitor and I'll show you some spreadsheets that we can fill in.
Mariana: O.K. Done.
Siri: Good. I see you now. You do look quite upset.
Mariana: [Shakes her head agreeing with Siri].
Siri: Do you want to talk a little bit more about how this is affecting you before getting started?
Mariana: No. Let's get started now.
Siri proceeds over the next couple of days to interview and counsel Mariana as would today's consumer bankruptcy lawyer (and staff). Siri gathers the necessary data and completes the spreadsheets. She helps Mariana understand and compare Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 as well as possible non-bankruptcy options (e.g. resisting wage garnishment and stopping unwanted contact from debt collectors). She provides Mariana with the required credit counseling.
After a few days reflection, Mariana instructs Siri to prepare the relevant documents for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Siri does so, obtains digital copies of Mariana's pay stubs, obtains Mariana's digital signatures, draws filing fees from Mariana's PayPal account, and files the necessary documents with the bankruptcy court.
Soon thereafter, Siri alerts Mariana to the first meeting of creditors. Mariana attends via FaceTime after practicing with Siri on answering questions that Siri anticipates from the United States Trustee. A few weeks later, Siri notifies Mariana of her discharge, evidence of which Siri will store for Mariana together with the spreadsheets, copies of the documents filed with the bankruptcy court, and a recording of all conversations between Siri and Mariana relating to resolution of her financial difficulties.
Science fiction? I'm beginning to think not for too long.