With the beginning of the year, 2020 began the biggest pandemic of our modern times. The COVID-19 situation is constantly changing. The news is rapidly updated while the answers to Frequently Asked Questions are becoming much more well defined. Initially, people were asking questions about the virus and how it is spreading. The lockdown/shelter in place has devastated many businesses and a few months ago people and businesses began asking questions about financial assistance and help. With the beginning of the reopening of the economy, people are now interested in understanding the phases and local policies and often need current and up-to-date information available on their small phone screens. Since smartphones are the most common devices used by practically everyone we have decided on the building of an adaptive chatbot that can provide relevant and current answers based on news sources and frequently asked questions.

What it does

It takes your a question and identifies its intent which determines which AI engines will be used to provide you with an answer.

How I built it

IBM Watson assistant identifies the intent of the conversation statement, then processes it using three main categories: hardwired well-known FAQ about the pandemic, reopening intend is processed with a call to a Google Custom Search Engine, while financial assistance and any other topics are answered using the IBM Discovery News

Challenges I ran into

We intended to demonstrate the chatbot integration via Slack and FaceBook along with the webpage demo. Unfortunately, facebook has put on hold any integrations to their Messenger app by individuals. First time Node js programing to process the API calls to Google and Watson ect. Fixing the location system entity since IBM has decided to retire it. Had to give up the US state abbreviations for state entities since the Assistant often takes "... in ..." to be equivalent to Indiana.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

Have learned how to prepare intends and entities with synonyms and to do Node js programing to interface with three external api services: Johns Hopkins CSSE, Watson Discovery News, and Google custom search engine.

What I learned

There are constant changes - solutions that were working yesterday may not work today.

What's next for Ask Gwlatson

Building an Android and iOS dedicated apps and integrations with other AI engines.

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