Edwards- Field Test

I chose a complicated issue for the FaceBook ChatBot assignment, so I am going to expand upon my bot for the field test. I want the bot to give users an understanding of the current political climate in the EU. With Brexit and the buzz around the French election, populism has become a term that has swirled around in the news media. The purpose of my bot is to adequately explain what populism means and why is it spreading.

To create my bot, I decided the best thing to do is start with a timeline. To explain populism, you have to start with events back in 2008. Then there’s a discussion of Brexit, Trump’s election and the French election that needs to occur to explain the full picture. Outlining this timeline of events helped me organize my thoughts.

I created all of my blocks concerning the 2008 economic crisis first. Then, I went to the AI section and thought of keywords that would help lead a user to those blocks. I did the same thing with each successive topic.

The first test was not good at all. I was clear that I had a through line of populism, but users who were learning about this topic for the first time would most likely have a difficult time navigating through my bot. Since people who have limited knowledge on populism is my intended audience, I had to think through a way to make it more user-friendly.

After tweaking a few things here and there with the AI, I ran a few more tests and finally discovered the solution was to lead the user more directly. Therefore, I directed users to each new topic/ block in the previous block. For example, my block about the winner of the French election says who wins. At the end of that, it says to ask the bot how much Macron won by. By doing this, a user will have a much easier time navigating through my topic.

(i.e.: Macron won the election! Ask me how much he won by!)

After I made this change, the bot still did not recognize some words, so I made a few tweaks. Now, I think it is pretty successful. However, it is not as intelligent as I would like it to be. It has a very prescriptive path from one block to the next as it takes you through the topic. I would have liked it to be more ‘intelligent’.

Overall, I think this chat bot is a simple tool that a user can easily use to understand a daunting topic. It is a singular source that houses all of the facts someone would find after conducting several internet searches. I think this technology would be great for news organizations who want to create a source of information on a given topic. Rather than having to read multiple articles over a long period of time on any given topic, the user could go to the bot and get all of the essential information to understand a topic. If the user wants more detail the bot could link to individual articles/ videos the organization has written/ produced.

For example, the bot would work really well for a news organization to explain all of the facts associated with the Trump/ Russia scandal. There are hundreds of articles associated with that topic that a user would have to sift through to understand the whole picture. A bot could help a user avoid losing important facts that may have gotten lost in the shuffle because they were written/ produced several months ago. Finding old articles sometimes requires an extensive search, so a bot would help users avoid that frustration. With a chat bot, all of the information would be in one place.

I think a bot would work very well for complicated issues. I hope to see news organizations utilize this technology in the future.

Link to MY bot: https://www.facebook.com/Kristen-233631247116392/