How Chatbots are Contributing to Eco-Friendly Causes
Chatbots are the new wave of technology that have the potential to upend industry practices, reduce costs, and improve communities through social activism. Based on evolving uses of artificial intelligence and machine learning, chatbots interact with people in such a way that they mimic human conversation.
Today, chatbot solutions are finding use primarily in customer service. However, they are starting to also infiltrate the world of social activism. By creating personalized, conversational experiences with individuals, chatbots are bringing causes closer to home. They are therefore creating more impactful experiences and enhancing the effectiveness of social movements and initiatives.
Bots Are Finding a Niche in Eco-Friendly Causes
Perhaps some of the most intriguing uses for chatbots in social activism lie in information sharing and gathering.
Take Lokai, an organization which which donates a portion of sales proceeds to charities such as the Nature Conservancy and the World Wild Fund for Nature. They partnered with Charity:Water, which brings drinkable water to developing countries, to create a chatbot called Yeshi.
Their aim was to educate individuals on the Ethiopian water crisis. Their bot functioned in a way that users could converse with it to understand the daily life of a young girl in Ethiopia. By asking it basic questions about the crisis and cause, people were able to gain a better understanding while feeling more closely aligned to the mission of alleviating the impact of the crisis.
Biohitech IOT has taken bot tech to the waste management industry in a first-of-its-kind application that reduces food waste. Hospitality management can interact directly with their food digester machinery and use natural language to monitor waste disposal systems. By having an easy-to-use and interactive tool that provides a comprehensive look into their machinery, businesses can reduce food waste in landfills and lower carbon footprints.
The BBC has worked with Facebook Messenger to develop a chatbot that increases environmental awareness. In conjunction with its recent documentary, Planet Earth II, the bot promoted wildlife awareness by producing personalized video highlights for users interacting with the bot. The network plans to expand the effort by utilizing its entire natural history archive.
Chatbots Assist With Humanitarian Efforts
Chatbots offer a high level option of social interaction with the public on critical issues. When UNICEF decided to research the prevalence of sexual abuse in Liberia’s schools, it developed a bot to conduct a wide survey while preserving anonymity for respondents. The results: an astonishing 86% of respondents disclosed that teachers were exchanging sex for grades. This prompted Liberia’s Minister of Education to develop plans to address the issues. The actionable change that resulted from this chatbot implementation is just one indication of the power of this tech when applied for social change.
Another application is evidenced by HawaBadlo – ”ChangeTheAir” in Hindi. With air quality becoming more and more a concern in India’s major cities, the company launched a chatbot that connects to users on Facebook Messenger to provide the air quality index at their location. The organization also encourages users to switch to greener fuels. Future initiatives look to tailor information for users that specifically address the issues in their local area.
Bots are also supporting public health initiatives. In Britain, Public Health England used Facebook Messenger to support the annual stop-smoking campaign. By interacting with users online, the organization pushed support to smokers by offering advice and tools to reduce their cravings.
Natural language processing (NPL) remains the key advantage for chatbots. As Facebook and Twitter have demonstrated, people like social platforms for communication. As NPL improves, people respond to chatbots as they would to real human beings. The connection helps change behaviors, keep them informed, and in the process encourages socially responsible behaviors.
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