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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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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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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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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