Messenger applications, such as Whatsapp, Messenger, Telegram, or Wechat, represent a popular medium of communication, which people use to interact with friends, family members, and various brands. In 2015 the total number of active users of such applications surpassed the total number of users of conventional social network applications. Chatbots are computer programs living in messenger applications and emulating a conversation with a human to provide a certain service. Such it is possible to order pizza from Dominos using their Facebook messenger chatbot or to check the weather talking to the cute cat Poncho.
While messenger applications are already de-facto standard for brands to communicate with their clients, such medium is less popular in urban environment connecting citizens and city stakeholders. We not only believe that city stakeholders should consider such communication channel, but we argue that chatbot could as well become a convenient way for both sides to establish such communication at scale. As the first step towards implementing this vision, we introduced a mockup of Amsterdam chatbot.
Brainstorming session on chatbot use cases in urban environment
In February 2017, SocialGlass researchers organized an event at Pakhuis de Zwijger (a platform for discussing city-related topics): AMS Science for the Cities – Improving cities through social media (a video of the event is available here). During the event, we asked the audience to help us and to brainstorm ideas, what citizens could ask such bot for, and what kind of information citizens could provide such bot with. In the table below we summarise the ideas, we collected from the audience.