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:

1.The Sun’s Messenger bot

 

Possibly, it’s a draft for the below Facebook Messenger chatbot:

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2. User Interface and conversational engagement

3. Storyboard – food bot

4. Can robots be evil?

5. Landscape of bots, technologies, and integrations

 

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

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data, data journalism, data visualization, HTML, instagram, Interactivity, Javascript, maps, social media

[MUSIC MAP] My summer through Instagram pictures and Spotify songs

I have been experimenting with Instagram, again. This time, I have established a relationship between a picture of the day and a song recently discovered on Spotify through the Discover Weekly feature. The below post would be an example:

Picture + Name/lyrics of the song  + 🎶  + hashtags

 

After gathering the data, I mapped these posts using the Mapbox JS library and I made each song playable on the same window. This is the result:

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Below I explain the process of collecting and mapping the data: 

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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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