data, data journalism, data visualization, infographic, journalism

What I learned on misleading data and visualizations at Alberto Cairo’s #visualTrumpery event

Trumpery is not linked to a famous politician. It means something flashy or beautiful, but without content. This is how Doctor Alberto Cairo started his talk in Barcelona last Friday on data visualizations and the challenge of truthful information.

Below 5 takeaways from the event to data journalists on their attitude towards teaching the audience to properly interprete graphs and visualizations:

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automation, chatbots, social media

Kimchi, an experimental podcast bot on Facebook Messenger from AJ Innovation

After The Guardian launched Sous-Chef, an experimental Facebook Messenger chatbot that delivers recipes, other media companies have join the bandwagon.

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In the middle of this chatbot revolution, Al Jazeera launched Kimchi, a Facebook Messenger chatbot that allows users to discover, share and play podcasts:

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Tawanda Kanhema, from Al Jazeera’s Innovation Department, explains that Kimchi is an experimental project to gather insights and data on consumer behaviour on the podcast atmosphere (inside and outside Facebook).

Kimchi has been able to deliver 480 episodes and 500 podcast to a few thousand of users that have interacted since AJ launched the bot in March.

There are several apps that help users on the discovery phase for podcasts, such as Pocket Casts or NPR. So, why is Kimchi different?

Kanhema defines Kimchi as a personal podcast assistant that allows users to easily find specific podcasts by typing keywords. Apart from subscribing to these podcasts or adding them to the queue, users can listen to these without leaving Facebook Messenger app.

As part of the machine learning that is lacking on 80% of the bots on several messaging apps, the more Kimchi is used, the more it is able to suggest personalised content.

However, Kimchi is just part of a “bigger project that will have a similar back-end to Alexa or Google Home”, says Kanhema. First step has been to gather feedback on what content are people looking for, how are they searching for this content, and when are they listening to it. Next step will be to focus on basic capabilities to build a “conversational UX audio product”.

We’ll have to stay tuned for future announcements.

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Do you know more examples? Let me know in the comments or at @mcrosasb

 

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chatbots, data journalism, journalism, social networks, video, virtual reality

2016 represented in 12 vines

2016 has presented changes on politics, technology and successes: England vote the Brexit, Trump won the battle to Hillary; virtual reality depicted the Mobile World Congress, journalists got together to release the Panama Papers, and famous people such as David Bowie or Alan Rickman passed away.

Another app that said goodbye this year is Vine. This service was founded in 2012, offering a six second looping video that could be shared on Twitter and Facebook.

I’ve selected 12 incidents, one for each month of the year, with a video published on Vine to say bye to this year:

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automation, data journalism, data visualization, instagram, social media

Instagram sketches: How can chatbots be more friendly?

Chatbots are on the first stage of experimenting through APIs, voice and messaging apps. However, last conferences such as the Web Summit in Portugal, the Chatbot Conference in Vienna or the API days in Barcelona have raised awareness on design and personalities to create more human interactions:

Efforts on choosing platforms or technologies to build chatbots shouldn’t override the conversation between the robot and a human. For this reason, accessing the chatbot is as important as drawing the conversation through flowcharts, mindmaps or storyboards. Could “Sorry, I didn’t understand your reply” be more friendly and approachable?

Instagram is an interesting platform that not only focuses on photography but also drawings. Below I have gathered some examples of chatbot storyboards that present customised scenarios between bots and users:

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chatbots, Interactivity, journalism

When chatbots talk about politics: 3 good approaches

Since the trend is to keep using Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger rather than downloading new apps, the media is investing in chatbots to engage with the audience. They keep users awake and speak the same language.

There have been several examples of chatbots for cooking, shopping or travelling. However, a politic chatbot is quite new. Below I share three good approaches when it comes to cover elections or represent politicians:

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