AKQA’s R&D lab develops first Chatbot for Climate Council Australia

10th January

Today the Climate Council and AKQA announced collaboration to launch the Climate Council’s first ever chatbot developed by AKQA.
The collaboration allowed the Climate Council to utilise AKQA’s Research and Development Lab to create a chatbot that would better engage 25 -35 year olds who follow the Climate Council on their social channels but have low engagement.
Housed on the Climate Council’s Facebook page, the bot will help their curious audience access the latest facts about climate change in a conversational context, receiving accurate and understandable answers instantly.
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.
“The chatbot is a first for the Climate Council. This is a fantastic resource that will allow our audience to discuss the facts of climate change, while also understanding more than just the headlines. To do this, we regularly create and distribute detailed and understandable reports, highlight the latest research and statistics across a range of climate-related topics, including extreme weather, heatwaves, bushfires and renewable energy and storage technology solutions. We knew the chatbot would be a brilliant addition to the Climate Council’s resources, allowing us to access new demographics, audiences and supporters, while also increasing accessibility to our reports and data,“ said Climate Council spokesperson.
AKQA’s Executive Director of the R&D Lab, Tim Devine, says “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 5 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.” says Tim.
The chatbot is now live and ready to help us all understand the facts about climate change.