For Americans feeling anxiety over the state of the nation, a new chat bot is here to help.
Meet “Hope,” a Siri-like politically minded bot built to hear out concerns about President Donald Trump and offer advice for what to do about it.
Through a series of interactive text messages, Hope aims to act as a “personal political adviser” that users can discuss the latest news and explore options for action.
“There’s just so much happening right now that it’s really hard for people to actually process it, not to mention understanding what you should actually do about it,” said Josh Hendler, chief technology officer at Purpose, the technology company that built the program. “How do we give people something to do? How do we help people take smart actions and talk to people outside their bubble? We’re doing this because we think it’s needed.”
Hope can coach you through a conversation with a family member about a divisive political issue, provide information about contacting a member of Congress, provide the location of a local demonstration or offer language to share a message on social media.
The application was built in response to Trump’s actions on issues like climate change, immigration and LGBTQ rights, creators said.
Purpose has teamed up with liberal advocacy groups Emily’s List and NextGen America, which will help supply content.
One of the first actions NextGen will offer will be a call to ask members of Congress to pass a version of the DREAM Act – a bill that would allow children of undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States – without additional conditions from the Trump administration.
Hope’s launch comes at a time when companies and organizations are increasingly using forms of chat bots and artificial intelligence to serve users. Apple introduced iPhone users to the “personal assistant” Siri in 2010. Last year, an SMS-based program called HelloVote connected voters will polling places and information about voter registration. And CNN offers chat programs on Facebook, Line and Kik to engage with viewers.
Hope’s creators are aiming for expansive uses of the technology, which promises to be conversational and, through machine learning, become more tailored to each individual user.
“Siri doesn’t have a point of view of what you should be doing. But Hope does,” said Hendler. “Hope’s your adviser. But it’s also your friend.”