What if you could text your city a question? How might we leverage the potential of conversational, network agents, to engage and empower people in their communities?
Building on my final project at CIID, in which I prototyped an SMS-based chatbot service to connect Greenlanders in Denmark with community resources, I propose further exploration of this space. I believe we can do more to make public services accessible, particularly for marginalized groups in our communities, through low-barrier touchpoints like SMS, multi-lingual natural language processing, and artificial intelligence.
Besides facilitating access to official resources, such a networked service could create radical new models of civic engagement by enabling peer-to-peer connections, or enable more nuanced perspectives for city planners through the deployment of ad hoc bots to engage citizens conversationally on topics.