automation, chatbots, journalism, social media

These two chatbots will help you on your day-to-day work

I usually get the question on which is the chatbot I like the most, so I’ve decided to share two good initiatives that help me on my routine and to speed up some of the tasks.

When I first interact with a bot, I try to get some of the below out of them:

  • Presentation – To know what the bot can and cannot do
  • Information displayed in different ways: combination of text, buttons, images.
  • Proactive, but not spammy
  • Sense of humor
  • The bot intelligence/understanding to avoid getting frustrated when I don’t get the expected result

However, I chat again frequently if I find them useful for my day-to-day work. The two chatbots below are living on Facebook Messenger and want to facilitate users’ routine by summarising or double checking information that is on the red.

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automation, chatbots, media, social media

This is what I learned after teaching on chatbots and journalism: 3 takeaways for newsrooms

For the past year, I’ve been invited to share some ideas on how bots can help newsrooms to deliver news and how to build an engaging chatbot experiences. And throughout these classes, I’ve also had challenging questions on how these technologies are pushing the boundaries of ethics, artificial intelligence and storytelling.

Below 3 takeaways for newsrooms that want to begin this chatbots journey.

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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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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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automation, chatbots, data journalism, journalism, social media

How to: build a Telegram bot with Chatfuel

Telegram holds official bots and displays easy settings that help users without developing skills to build basic chatbots. On this previous post, I explained how I created three different bots through commands, menus, and submenus.

However, there are other tools that speed up the development of chatbots. For instance, Chatfuel. This platform runs the bot through an API Key, and administrators can create buttons and menus for a quick navigation.

I tested this platform creating a bot for the Noda and Tutki16 conference in Helsinki last April. This example acts similar to a channel, where subscribers receive notifications and news from several data streams:

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On this post, I explain how to build it in three steps:

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automation, chatbots, data journalism, HTML, Javascript, social media

What I learned from bots, chatbots and channels on Telegram

After some posts on how to build bots on Facebook, I got some feedback on making a difference between bots and chatbots. On a conversation with Miquel Serrabassa, Head of Technology at the Catalan newspaper La Nació Digital, he pointed out that some bots are, in fact, channels:

“These bots lack of interaction. They are unidirectional and post automated messages, but people cannot chat with them.”

According to Telegram, users interact with bots through messages, commands and inline requests controlled by a developer (and an API). From this definition, examples can be as broad as newspaper notifications, weather forecasts, and quiz games.

I have been experimenting and testing Telegram bots with basic coding skills and this is what I’ve learned so far:

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automation, chatbots, data journalism, Interactivity, social media

How to build a Facebook Messenger chatbot with API.ai

The previous post shows 5 tools that help to create Facebook Messenger chatbots. The platform that I liked the most was API.ai and I used it to build a bot for my Facebook Page Dinfografia .

Through intents and entities, I tried to build a basic chatbot that displays information about my resumé. I set up some keywords to answer questions around professional experience, education or hobbies:

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Here I explain how to create the above bot in 6 steps:

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