Author: James Groh

Groh: Field Test

For my field test I created a chat bot that explains drone law. The goal of this messenger bot is to break down the basics of drone law so that novice flyers won’t get in trouble when they fly their drone.

https://www.messenger.com/t/287519685033756/

Drone law is very complicated. There are many rules that most people don’t know exist. Some of these laws are counterintuitive to what most people think the purpose of flying drones is for. The FAA stresses safety as one of its major concerns, which is why people aren’t allowed to fly directly over other, flying at night is prohibited, there is a maximum flight altitude and pilots must keep their drone in their own line of sight. There aren’t places that thoroughly and simply outline these rules, so DroneBot attempts to clear any confusion and prepare pilots to fly safely and legally fly while still having fun.

Creation

I used chatfuel.com to create the chatbot. This website has an easy to use interface. All I have to do is input keywords and its subsequent response.

As far as my experience goes, Chatfuel does not have a limit on the number of answers you can input.

The program also allows you to insert ‘blocks’. These are links that users can interact with. I decided to include a slideshow of five different drones with their price and websites so users can learn more about the specific drone.

I also included blocks that were designed to give the user an idea of what questions to ask. I included three tip boxes that pointed the user in different directions. This also served as a good tool if the user asked a question the bot couldn’t answer because the bot provided questions they could ask that would guarantee a response.

 

In total, I had nearly 80 responses prepared to answer any question a user might ask. Each answer is triggered by at a least a couple of different key words or phrases.

Results

I sent links to friends, family and professionals to test out the bot. I got a lot of feedback from friends and families but very little feedback from professionals.

There were 12 different users who chatted with DroneBot. An interaction is qualified as a question a user asked or any time a user clicks on a block.

Interactions Obscenities/Non Sequiturs Adjusted for Obscenities/Non Sequiturs
User 1 9 0 9
User 2 40 17 23
User 3 10 0 10
User 4 11 7 4
User 5 20 7 13
User 6 8 0 8
User 7 4 0 4
User 8 15 0 15
User 9 12 0 12
User 10 16 3 13
User 11 28 12 16
User 12 10 0 10
Average 15 4

11

 

The questions users asked varied. There wasn’t a common thread between questions.

 

Analysis

I think the number one reason for the lack of engagement with the chat bot was because the topic is too niched. Drone law, as stated in the beginning, is new and unknown to most. Initially, I thought that people would ask a lot of questions because they didn’t know anything about the topic. I learned that people didn’t asked questions because they didn’t know about the topic. Users can’t ask questions when they don’t know where to start. A common response I heard was “I wasn’t sure what else to ask.”

Another reason for the small amount of interactions is because users would be deterred from asking questions if they received the message that the bot didn’t understand the question. Users may have thought that they exhausted all the questions they could ask. Another reason may be that they didn’t know what else to ask. This is directly related to the first reason I gave. If people don’t know what questions to ask in the first place, and a couple of their questions didn’t get responses, they may have been discouraged to continue.

I also noticed that it was common for people to test what kind of response the bot would give to obscenities or non-sequiturs. While not everyone went down that route, those who did generally asked a lot of those questions.

One of the toughest problems I encountered was developing the syntax for what the program recognized to give a response. I realized that everyone asks the same question in slightly different ways. Users would ask “where is the best place to fly” and “where can I fly” but only the question with the most similar keywords would get a response. Another example of this concerns when people should fly: “when can I fly”, “what’s the best time to fly”, “when should I fly”. This was the case for many questions. To account for this, I attempted to come up with every variation of a sentence I could think of. However, as is typical with these sorts of things, there is always a way to ask a question that I didn’t anticipate. As this happened, I would update the bot as it was stumped. This quickly became the most common maintenance I would do.

Since I knew people would get run out of questions, I tried to prompt users with questions or direct them down certain avenues. This quickly failed. I learned that people didn’t follow my direction. Either they had their own agenda of questions in mind or they didn’t read the entire response. Most users failed to ask the follow up questions I provided. However, I did have some success doing this. Some users did read the entire response and followed the DroneBot’s directions. Users who did this asked on average four to six more questions. 

Conclusions

Chat bots take a lot of trial and error. Since there are so many ways to ask the same thing, there is a lot of room for miscommunication. A chat bot is only successful if it can answer any question or guide its users in a certain direction. Lots of data is necessary to do this and that data comes from field tests like this one.

Also, messenger bots that deal with niche subjects aren’t ideal. People don’t know what to ask or how to interact with it. The result is little user engagement.

With all this being said, I believe my bot was successful. I conducted a field test, acquired data and adjusted my bot’s answers as users asked new questions. With over 80 responses prepared, users who thoroughly engage with DroneBot will come away with enough of an understanding of drone law to avoid most legal issues when flying.

Groh: Future of Media

James Groh
NTNM SCI-FI

Contacts

Present Day
“When they told me I was going to be the first to try it, I was excited. All I could think about is how much more dynamic my story telling would become. A first person point of view.”

“It’s not your fault. You had no idea what would happen. I mean maybe you could have gotten the idea from how people reacted to the glasses but that’s a totally different story.”

“I just don’t know what to do. No one will hire me. I can’t go out in the public. You’re all that I have.”

Flash Back 1 year. Commercial on T.V.
“You’ve heard of Google glass and the Snapchat glasses, but you have never seen anything like this. Capture all the world’s glory, every moment in high definition. Sign up to be apart of something bigger than yourself. Change the way you and everyone else sees the world. Call now to sign up for the trial version of the next big thing. There are a limited amount of spots. Call now! (111) 867-5309.”
Fast-forward three months.
“Congratulations. You can leave those in for a couple of weeks and then after you can come back to us and we will take them out and give you a new pair. Sound good?”

“Yeah thanks doc. I really can’t wait to tell my boss. The way I photog is going to blow his mind.”

“Your boss will love it. You will be able to capture video that no one else will be able to.”

Ben rushed to his work. It was three months of trial and error but the product was finally ready to be used in a real world setting. His contacts were fully functional, didn’t hurt, and seamlessly connected to his computer.

He rushed into his boss’ office.

“Mark! Mark! Boy do I have something to show you. I have a way that is going to change the very face of the news,” Ben exclaimed.

“Yes? I’m listening,” his boss said.

“You don’t need a camera to shoot the news anymore. You don’t even need those ugly glasses. I’ve got these contacts that act as a video camera. All I have to do is close my eyes for three seconds. Then, when I open them they will be recording. No red light. No beeping. No bulky equipment. I am the camera now. I can give people the first person view of everything.”

Ben was incredibly excited about this new technology. He had just graduated from the Groh School of Communications. He had read about the impact that the video camera had on news and then drones and 360-footage. This time, he wanted to be one of the pioneers of a new way to tell stories. He wanted to become the expert.

“See the best part is that I can connect it to your computer or control board to broadcast live.”

Ben opened up his computer and showed the live recording of his conversation with his boss. The boss was impressed and immediately gave Ben an assignment to cover.

“There’s a protest going on right now downtown. I need you to go down and cover it. Do you think you can do that?”

Ben jumped at the opportunity. He was already half way out the door when he answered.

“Yes I can do that. I’m half way there already.”

Once Ben got there, he quickly assimilated into the crowd and began to record. The footage was incredible. He got impossible to get close ups. He was capturing angles never before possible. He went back and his boss was incredibly pleased with his footage. This got Ben promoted to lead photographer.

He continued to do this for a few weeks.

“Ben, great job so far. These past few weeks, ratings have skyrocketed. There has been a shooting downtown. Police aren’t allowing media very close but bystanders are everywhere. I need you to go down and get footage of the body and anything else you can get.”

Ben was slightly concerned with this idea, but he had only been working at the station for two months and didn’t want to give anyone a reason to fire him. Ben went down to the crime scene and got the footage of the body.

The next day, Ben was on assignment at another march. However, this time when he was recording he witnessed two marchers from the anti-smoking group beating smoking cigarettes during the pre-march instructions, something that was closed off to media. The video aired on the news and the marchers were in an uproar. Not only did they receive incredibly bad publicity, it made them question how someone could have gotten such an intimate view of their preparations.

A few assignments later, Ben was assigned to go to court to cover a trial. Ben knew that there were many laws about having cameras in courthouses, but his boss told him to upload it to social media under a fake account. The station would use what was believed to be a random social media post as its video to avoid getting in trouble. This all happened flawlessly. Ben got the footage; the news station didn’t get in trouble. The courthouse noticed though and issued a statement that the culprit of the hidden video would be punished to the fullest extent.

Ben did this a few more times. He covered court cases and murders more and more. The station continued to use the fake social media posts as their footage. It worked well until a cop who had been on call for a few of the homicides was in court for one of those homicides. He recognized Ben. The cop also had a niece who had been apart of a failed test for video camera contacts. The officer confronted Ben. After a while of talking, Ben was itching his eye and a contact fell out. The cop noticed it looked differently from regular contacts. He asked Ben where he had gotten them, and Ben slipped.

“I got them from Occulot- I mean from my eye doctor,” Ben was flustered. He knew he just gave away very important information.

The office replied. “You got these contacts from Occulotum? You know, I had a niece who volunteered to be apart of a test for them. About video recording contacts. These wouldn’t happen to be the same ones would they?”

Ben knew he was caught. He stammered. He fumbled over his words, but he couldn’t speak an intelligible sentence.

The cop with a grin on his face said, “I thought so. You are under arrest for illegal videography.”

“Wait, you can’t do that. You haven’t proven that yet.”

The cop replied, “You have already told me more than I need to know.”

Ben went to court and lost his case. He was charged with illegal use of video cameras in a prohibited space and invasion of privacy. Since Ben was a member of the media the case got a lot of attention. His company fired him, and he found it hard to find work again.

Present day
“Mom, I just don’t know what to do. I spent all my life trying to become a journalist and now no one will hire me. My reputation is ruined. My face is all over the news. I didn’t ask for this.”

“But neither did those people you filmed. They were all blindsided too. You broke the law. And sometimes, just because it’s a new toy or gadget doesn’t mean it’s a good one.”

Groh Assignment 5

One way to use the an arduino system would be to give sonar capabilities to blind people. Using the Lidar Lite, you could give blind people glasses that emit a sound near their ear that indicates the proximity of people. The sound becomes more frequent as objects become closer. The glasses would have a 10 foot radius. The glasses need to be able to see relatively far away but not too far away to confuse the user into thinking there are objects in their immediate vicinity when that is not the case.

You could also add an imagery sensor to the bottom of the normal white cane that blind people use. The specific arduino for this is called the Altitude Pressure Sensor Breakout. This would indicate changes in altitude so a person knows when they are about to walk off a curb or about to encounter stairs or some sort of incline.

Groh: Dataviz Final

The salary for public officials is often at the center of debate. Citizens complain that state employees are paid too high.  State employees say they aren’t compensated enough. Often the conversation ends up revolving around taxes. If state officials want higher salaries they need to find it somewhere in the budget or raise taxes. Regular citizens are normally pretty open to reducing their own taxes, but that reflects negatively in another persons’ check.

 

To begin to understand how much and why certain state officials are paid their given salary, a state’s tax revenue and overall budget need to be analyzed.

As shown by the table, California and New York have by far the biggest budgets and tax revenues. This is directly proportional, for the most part, with the average salary of each state’s public employees. So the larger the tax revenue and budget the higher the salary.

 

A state’s budget and revenue are fairly indicative of an employee’s potential salary. However, there are few exceptions as seen in the graph. Also, these numbers do not differentiate between part-time and full-time employees, which would denote a salary difference.

When the numbers are broken down by job type, there is a shocking result. The highest paid state employees in the United States are division I basketball and football coaches.

American sports are a huge profit generator. Nowhere else in the world are college sports taken so seriously, either.

The head coach of the University of Alabama football team, Nick Saban, makes $7 million a year. Since 2009, the Crimson Tide have won four national championships, were runners-up twice, produced 2 Heisman trophy winners, and haven’t lost more than 2 games in one season.

However, there is a caveat with this number that applies to all the other coaches. These schools and athletic departments make the majority of there money from other avenues other than taxes. Large T.V. commercial deals, sponsorships, rights to broadcast a game, ticket sales, merchandise sales, and concessions all contribute to Nick Saban’s salary. What amplifies the situation is that the better the team does, the more money the school gets for high profile playoff games, increased merchandise sales, and inflated ticket prices. So to say that these coaches are state employees may be a stretch. However, they are still employed by a public university which is apart of the state. Therefore, coaches are still considered state employees/

What has some people complaining, is the compensation the coaches get for the level of importance of their job. Employees who work in the state capital are crucial to the functioning of the state but don’t see the same level of compensation. This simply boils down to the industry. Some industries are more lucrative than others just as reporters are not paid as much as bankers.

What’s most interesting is that no state governors make the list of being the state’s highest paid employee. The majority of the people who are the highest paid employees are doctors, coaches, and university administrative personnel. Governors make around $100,000 a year.

The role of the governor may be more important in the management and functioning of the state, but that nature of the job doesn’t illicit a high wage. Even the highest office in the U.S only gets paid $400,000. To put this in perspective, Donald Trump would only be the highest paid public employee in three states: Maine, New Hampshire, and Montana.

 

Groh: assignment 4

Drones may have a very large impact in my future. Since I want to be a reporter, I am always thinking about new ways to shoot film and how to create an interesting standup. If I am able to go to a location and use a drone to get ariel footage of something I wouldn’t normally be able to get to, it will increase my stature as a reporter. It will make me a go to person for information since I am able to get photos of things others people can’t. It will also make all my footage more dynamic. I will be able to follow rescue crews as they walk into a disaster site. What’s really exciting is that it will make me even more powerful as a one-man-band reporter. To do certain standups reporters need a cameraman. However, with a drone, I am my own camera man, and I can have it follow me where ever I go. So, I can increase the creativity of my shots.

Assignment 3: Groh

After going to the Drone Journalism school this past weekend, I thought it would be valuable to have a destination where people can ask questions about drone law. The confusing laws of such a new technology can be confusing to navigate, so DroneLaw attempts to simplify the intricate legalese and provide novice pilots with the basic information they need to know to avoid breaking the law.

Click this link to learn about drone laws.

Assignment 2: Groh

A sci-fi movie that comes to mind that seems likely to become a reality is the movie Her. Technologies like Siri showed the potential of robotic chat bots. Amazon took the next step with Alexa. These devices that recognize one’s speech very accurately and can respond accordingly, show the development of speech bot technologies. As automation becomes more popular and prevalent, it wouldn’t be a surprise to me that someone could fall in love with a speech bot that can respond to a wide variety of questions.

 

My final project idea is to take a 360 camera to a Syracuse softball game. I want to give the viewer the experience of actually being at the game. I plan on putting the camera in the stands and hopefully on the field as well. Those two views will give the viewer a totally immersive experience. I also want to experiment with having 360 video and standard video in the same video clip. My goal is to mimic a regular post game review but with the added element of 360 video.

 

Assignment 1: Groh

The small model of myself did not come out as well as I thought. I learned a term called “overhang”. It is the area of the bust that requires vertical pillars that act as a support system to keep it upright when it’s being created. If there’s too much overhang there will be a lot of supports and it will be harder to end up with a clean final product.

With that being said, there is a great upside to 3D printing. Being able to upload 3D models of objects and share them on social media is a powerful too. Especially if those models are interactive. There is a lot of potential for educational benefits. Whether it’s looking at bodily organs or a physical place, being able to navigate something that was previously impossible to do allows us to share knowledge with a vast amount of people. However, certain challenges I foresee are the affordability of doing something like this, the technological requirements for people, and the problem of giving information to people that they are unprepared to understand. Spreading knowledge is good, but giving complex ideas to people without the necessary foundational understanding of it does nothing.

It's Me!
by jgroh
on Sketchfab

Assignment 6: GROH

I examined the relationship between overall crime in New York versus the amount of sentences for those crimes. The data reveals a slight decrease in overall crime and a sharp decrease in the amount of criminals sentenced. There could be a multitude of reasons for this, however; I expect the cause to be an already over populated jail system and the sentiment that “lesser” crimes shouldn’t be punishable by prison sentences.

Groh Assignment 5

It’s commonplace to hear that the more education one receives the better the job he will have and the higher the salary he will receive. Here is the data that supports that fact. This table was taken from the California Open Data Portal. It reveals how many people make a given salary based on their level of education.