Building Bots for Journalism: Software You Talk With


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For these next four weeks I will be guiding you through the basics of building conversational interfaces -- bots people can talk with -- and deploying them on several platforms, including SMS, Amazon Alexa, and Facebook Messenger.



Module 1 - Introduction to conversational interfaces

Examples of conversational bots
Introduction to Dexter, the bot-writing platform
Build a basic chat bot inside Dexter
Careful walkthrough of RiveScript, the language Dexter uses
Make a "button" bot

Module 2 - Improve your bot’s conversational game

Build a question-and-answer bot: The dog-cat bot
Using Dialogflow Natural Language Processing (NLP)
Detecting other ways people may say "yes," "no," or "help."
Answering random chitchat, such as "How are you?"
Training your own intents in Dialogflow
Writing for good voice and flow, tailoring with variables

Module 3 - Texting and talking to bots

Building an SMS bot you can text with
Using SMS to create surveys that are logged with Airtable
Building an Alexa fact bot
Building an Alexa conversational bot: The dog-cat bot speaks!

Module 4 - Messenger bots

Put your bot on Messenger Part 1: Facebook pages and apps
Put your bot on Messenger Part 2: Linking Facebook & Dexter
Enhancing the experience with Facebook-specific features such as templates and menu items