GoT thinks big. Should its bot think small?
A few weeks before the Game Of Thrones premiere, someone released a GoT chatbot. If you haven't read about that bot, you can do so here.
This idea resonated with us at Botcopy. A few weeks before the GoTBot release, we asked our readers what they'd wish for in a Game Of Thrones bot.
Of all the answers we received (and we got some good ones) none were:
"I want a multi-character trivia dump."
"I want jokes like What's Hodor's favorite cereal? Raisin Bran. Ha!"
But that's what GoTBot gave us, more or less. In fairness, it was intended to be a fun refresher bot, helping you brush up on some of the basics you need to know going into the new season.
And that's fine. We're not knocking it at all. We played with the GoTBot for a long time and had fun. If you’re a fan, there’s going to be some joy in immersing yourself in GoT info.
Nonetheless, it's a letdown for us to see how the medium we champion – bots and AI-driven conversation – handled GoT.
GoTBot didn't offer the conversation we hoped to have.
Here's why: we don’t need a GoT data dump and jokes. What we’re hungering for is a meatier dialogue about some of the more interesting aspects of GoT.
For instance, we now like Sandor Clegane and Ser Jaime Lannister. Isn't that odd? We used to think they were jerks and now we see them as good guys. Why are we rooting for them? Is it because their characters prove how people can change?
That's just one of a million examples of what would be a cool thing to talk about with the showrunners or our fellow fans as we approach the wrap-up of the greatest series in history. With a little imagination, a GoT bot could be an excellent stand-in for that kind of discussion.
By contrast, a trivia-choked Wikipedia article chopped up into automated texts isn't how we make bot conversations resonate and connect. As bot makers, we can only connect emotionally with our users by emulating the best human-to-human communications.
What makes a good conversation?
Some of the coolest conversations I've ever had were during free period in high school, with a kid named Danny.
Danny loved to have in-depth, analytical discussions about video games, punk rock, and movies. Whatever sense of awe was rattling around in his brain, he seemed to like knowing it was rattling around in yours, too. He'd watch you like a hawk for that spark of interest in your eye, and then he'd generously take the convo in the direction of that spark.
This same phenomenon is happening in GoT, on a greater scale, both in the books and the show. As fun and mainstream as the show is, it's also a work of art with profound lessons, and it warrants deeper discussions than what GoTBot currently offers.
Imagine talking with your best friend about Game Of Thrones. Would it be a one-way trivia dump? Or, would it be a relatable, two-way discussion about the themes that make Game Of Thrones more than the sum of its facts?
Creating a satisfying emotional bond is vital to the future of bots.
Bot pundits talk a lot about the need for bots to bond emotionally with users. But how often do bot makers pursue this connection, beyond adding a few jokes and colloquialisms?
If bots are going to live up to their potential, we need to think bigger.
Imagine if a bot watched you like a hawk for a spark of interest, and took the convo in the direction of that spark. That's the kind of bot we'd like to use, and the kind we'd like to build. It may take a bit of guile, courage, and inspiration. But it’s doable and worth it – especially when GoT is involved.
In the words of Daenerys Targaryen, "Shall we begin?"