Climate Council Australia launches AI-powered chatbot to help educate on climate change

Climate Council Australia and digital agency AKQA today announced a collaboration to launch the Climate Council’s first ever chatbot designed to help better engage its followers with questions about climate change.

The chatbot was designed to help engage the 25-35 year olds who already follow the Climate Council on its social channels but have low engagement.

Housed on the Climate Council’s Facebook page, the bot will help the audience access research and statistics across a range of climate-related topics, including extreme weather, heatwaves, bushfires and renewable energy and storage technology solutions.

The AKQA Research and Development team worked closely with Climate Council to ensure all their findings and research could be transformed into data for the chatbot.

AKQA’s executive director of the R&D Lab, Tim Devine, said: “To ensure the bot was highly effective, the AKQA Research and Development Lab ran workshops with The Climate Council to gain an understanding of the challenges the organisation faced and how emerging technology such as bots can overcome these challenges.

“In the development phase, the lab first tested the IBM Watson Knowledge Studio as a way to restructure content in a way that would train the bot that could answer any question on climate change. The lab’s second attempt using Google’s DialogFlow trained the bot on Tim Flannery’s book, The Weather Makers. Neither was the right fit but the research critically informed the final product.

“People don’t know what questions to ask when it comes to climate change. They know topics like extreme weather, renewables, coal etc. but not knowing the right questions to ask a bot means you will only ever skim the surface. So the bot was designed to help people go deeper into the issues. In just five days, the lab developed the platform for The Climate Council to publish content and receive donations through Messenger.

“Our expectation is that over time we will evolve the bot into more channels and make it more conversational. But for now we’re excited to see it go live and serve as a new channel for the great, pertinent and meaningful content the Climate Council consistently produces,” said Devine.



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