Inspiration

We noticed that Facebook, Twitter, and various other social media platforms have become a stage for users to say whatever their hearts desire. However, sometimes what the user wants to share can be too controversial and/or annoying for the other users.

What it does

Soapbox allows the user to share their controversial opinions with IBM's Watson. Instead of the user posting to Facebook or Twitter then recieving dozens of replies from people ready to argue with you, on Soapbox your opinion is valuable and only Watson will be listening. After telling Watson your opinion, Watson will ask questions to try to invoke empathy and explore your opinions through the perspectives of other people.

How we built it

Soapbox was built by using two specific APIs. We utilized IBM Watson's tone analyzer; we created an algorithm that figures out the correct response for the user depending on the output from Watson's tone analyzer. This output is then sent to the chat, which is based off of Socket.io's chat room, where it is then posted in reply to the user. Watson then waits for the user's response and the process repeats to create conversation.

Challenges we ran into

We spent a lot of time working on parts of the project that we would later scrap. No-one in the team has more than CSCI 1300's worth of coding knowledge, so some parts were proven to be harder than others, and had to be scrapped in order to try something easier as the deadline approached. In the end, we did not have to time or the resources to reconfigure our project and connect the chat room, which ran on express, to Watson, which was running on meteor.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

As I mentioned, no-one in the team has more than CSCI 1300's worth of coding knowledge, so making the chatroom and getting Watson to work are accomplishments of themselves, even if they are not integrated.

What we learned

We learned a lot. We learned vim, javascript, express, meteor, APIs, and loads of other things beyond Python and C++. As a team, we learned that a hacking project requires planning and all of the parts to be compatible with each other. Ultimately, we learned that hacking is not impossible, and with enough time and dedication, you could make anything.

What's next for Soapbox

In the future, we plan to finally connect the front end to the back end. After desired functionality is achieved, Soapbox has potential for Twitter integration, where it will seek out opinionated tweets and invite the user to talk about them on Soapbox's domain. We envision Soapbox's chatroom to evolve into a forum, where other users could join in on the debate and gather insight from other people's conversations.

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