Inspiration

In Australia there is currently a huge national debate going on about legalising same sex marriage. This issue deeply affects me and has been dragging out for years. The government has just sent out a non binding postal ballot asking if it should be legalised. This means the "no" and "yes" sides have been putting out advertisements. There is so much misinformation and lies being spread this little bot aims to clarify some of the main points that people get wrong.

What it does

Equality Bot allows anyone to ask questions about legalising marriage equality in Australia. You can ask it questions on skype, facebook, twitter (DM), and the google assistant.

How I built it

I utilised the Microsoft Bot Service that runs on the Azure cloud platform. I created a piece of software that proxies the queries or "utterances" through to Google's api.ai for natural language processing. This is to demonstrate how well different competing services can actually work together.

Challenges I ran into

The Microsoft Bot Service and LUIS was challenging to get used to as it was on a completely different platform than I was used to. It wasn't until late Saturday night I managed to successfully deploy an application on the bot service. It was also quicker to prototype on the api.ai service so the chatbot was spread out across the two services which added additional complexities.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

Getting the Microsoft Bot Service up and running and talking to Google's api.ai.

What I learned

Getting a Microsoft and Google cloud service to work together is harder than one may think. Also it's not a good idea to pivot on the saturday afternoon and not get any sleep on both fri/sat nights. I also learnt red bull is amazing at helping me to stay awake.

What's next for Equality Bot

I hope to add even more answers and information and create a more natural conversation flow. This would encourage people to keep talking and have a better experience overall. I'd love to expand it into other regions that are currently facing similar issues to Australia in this area.

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