Equality is What Happens When AI Messaging Comes to Life
With greater access to AI messaging technologies, we’re a small step closer to making the world a better place
A 26 year-old working professional, living in a new city, reads about an upcoming vote. She cares deeply about the issue. She wants her voice heard, but she’s never been politically active before. How does she reach her senator? Is her senator even the right person to call? Is calling the right way to enact change?
While browsing the news, she hears about Resistbot. In a few seconds, she’s connected to a bot through her Facebook account and cell phone. She learns how to get in touch (faxing works great). And she learns who to contact (yep, it’s her senator). In fact, the bot contacts her congressional representatives on her behalf.
Through the magic of AI and messaging, this person participates in the political process for the first time. Democracy happens. Now, the political process doesn’t belong to just the wealthy or experienced. Anyone can participate on their platform of choice, thanks to an AI messaging bot.
Combining messaging and AI isn’t new. But AI is smarter than ever before. And access to development tools is widely available. These are laying the groundwork for a better life for all.
Harnessing AI Messaging to Work for Us
As messaging platforms leverage AI-powered experiences, we’re seeing more “helper” bots.
In a previous post, I practically wrote a love letter to Digit. But it’s not the only messaging-based AI bot providing financial help. Trim, for instance, argues with Comcast to lower your bill. Albert also helps rein in your finances, removing unwanted subscriptions.
Consider the benefits of chat as an invisible interface, combined with the advancing intelligence of these bots. Aren’t the possibilities thrilling? It’s more than cutting subscriptions or saving money on cable internet.
We have apps that help students find scholarships. Why not bots that help first-generation college students apply for scholarships and grants? Or bots that help students find and apply for jobs? I’m sure college career counselors would love a bot that provides career advice, day or night. (As a student, I would have preferred a 24/7 bot over awkward career counseling appointments.)
Unlike human helpers, bots don’t tire. DoNotPay, billed as the world’s first robot lawyer, automatically challenges parking tickets in major cities. Joshua Browder is the 19 year-old who built the bot. According to him, the bot has successfully challenged 160,000 out of 250,000 tickets with its system. It’s now expanding to more than 300 cities worldwide.
Isn’t that incredible? A teenager built a simple bought for the public good. His work has saved consumers millions of dollars. It’s about to save millions (or billions) more.
Now imagine if Browder’s “robot lawyer” were a little more advanced. Suddenly, navigating the legal system would become more accessible. It wouldn’t take a $250-$500/hour lawyer to file basic paperwork, for example. Disadvantaged persons would have more options to access to the law. And human lawyers could spend their time on the more advanced tasks bots couldn’t handle. (This would arguably be a better use of their extensive training.) It’d be a win-win.
We’re only at the beginning of harnessing the potential of these AI helpers. With the help of bots, some of society’s most vulnerable populations can get a little help.
Chatbots were used in refugee camps to provide therapy for some of the world’s most vulnerable. Why not an AI bot that provides other type of psychiatric support for patients? This bot could learn about you, remember what you’ve told it before. It could analyze your social media profiles and email to careful guide its analysis of you.
Let’s take the therapy idea a step further. What about bots that provide a safe place to practice social skills? A bot that gives helpful feedback to conversations? That helps boost confidence of individuals genuinely seeking social interactions? Social training via bots could be a vast improvement over the internet cesspool communities spilling out into the real world. It could give users a place to improve their social skills. It’d be an alternative to hate-filled cesspools where negative behavior is championed. (Looking at you, 4chan.) Individuals who just need a little help socializing could get it, safely, with an AI messaging bot.
Finally, AI messaging could enhance emergency response for both affected individuals and responders. Rescue is a bot built by our team. It guides student through emergency situations. By leveraging a familiar channel, it helps reduce panic. This enables critical communication during emergencies. Families, law enforcement, and emergency response can get necessary information. And it does this via text, Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, or some other channel.
Rescue doesn’t panic during emergencies. It doesn’t get tired. And it can help thousands of students at once. Imagine if law enforcement or emergency services had instantly crowdsourced data. How many lives could be saved?
New smart services on old platforms
Here’s the best thing about most of these AI messaging apps: they work on almost anything. If you have a device with SMS, like a flip phone, you can use these services.
These AI messaging helpers have incredible potential. (That’s why we founded a startup studio dedicated to AI messaging.) Since they can run on something as low-tech as SMS, even users with a basic flip phone could benefit.
We have a long way to go before we achieve true global equality. These helpers, who work tirelessly, bring us a bit closer to that goal. Let’s see what we can do together.