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Pitch

What if iSKA, a friendly interactive communicator bot, can facilitate lifestyle behavior changes & help cut our individual carbon footprint?


Description

Summary

iSKA is an interactive chatbot that can connect/chat/teach about climate change and simple shifts  in lifestyle behavior that will lessen individuals' personal carbon emission. iSKA is funny and can engage you through Messenger and FB apps and talk to you about anything on climate change;  even play, Rise up and other music;  watch a video; attend a free EdX MOOC course about conversations on climate change; teach you how to calculate your personal carbon footprint and so many other possibilities as our team continually improves on our ai or chatbot project!

You can try chatting with iSKA at this moment - simply click on the image below and the magic of ai starts!

iSKA (side duty)  will collect (hopefully) by April 22, 2020 (Earth day) a million e-pledges or e-signatures from all around the world to inform our world leaders that it's time for them (more than ever) to prioritize their legislation agenda towards caring for the environment and for our children.

We are positive of an awesome experience chatting with an AI!

We welcome suggestions or "questions" that could possibly widen iSKA's "answering"  repertoire...  Again, iSKA can play music for you, on Messenger just type, "play rise up music"!

THANKS from the team.

Artin Umali, Jade Snow Dionzon, Francis Raymond Calbay, Arlyn Pagunsan, Danny/Michelle Cruz; all doctoral students in communication at the University of the Philippines, Open University helped in creating/programming iSKA to teach or remind us everyday of the simple practical things we can do in our lives to control our personal carbon footprint. 


Is this proposal for a practice or a project?

Practice


What actions do you propose?

iSKA was designed with 3 important things in our mind(s):

1. People who believe in climate change often think the "big problem" will be difficult to solve and so they just depend on what experts can do relative to the problem. The "will it matter?" dialogue going on in our minds often provide the rationale for inactions in their daily personal lives.

2. Assuming, that individuals have a realization that their small actions matter a lot (as opined by the IPCC report 2018), so often we don't know these simple choices, practical adjustments of lifestyle or shift in behavior are virtually possible and can be done even if we are busy at home, when working or at school.

3. It will be a big sacrifice, so a lot of us would say but then minor adjustments, a little advance planning and even proper time management would enable us to  still cut down such "big sacrifice" mindset into manageable daily actions or routine. A good example is waking up a little earlier and going to work by mass transit in lieu of taking your car to work or school.

The three "barriers" to actions in crossing the abyss between one's belief in climate change and simple practical actions are by and large, why your friendly chatbot iSKA was created: to remind us of what can we do, learn and share with others  on things that we can do about caring for our environment as well as that of our children's future. 

iSKA can also be with us wherever we are for as long as we have an internet connection. (FB and Messenger too, whether you use a computer or a mobile device really, it  does not matter at all...it will work fine chatting with iSKA, the friendly chatbot!)

Unlike, iSKA who will never forget what was programmed to her. But us humans believe in climate change and what positive actions we can do; but so often we miss out in our daily lives or we forget (like we often do too) the water is running while brushing our teeth, forgetting to turn off our computers when not using it, etc.


Who will take these actions?

Everyone as they say in the "7 continents of the planet earth" for as long as there is an internet connection. Everyone is key to this project since the "public will" or what people think worldwide will be important to our world leaders to know (basis of their legislation or laws are often dependent on the minds of the general public. iSKA the friendly chatbot can bridge "culture and political divides" because she/he thinks only of what is best for the environment. (Although, iSKA can have some political savvy when she/he does not know the answer to your text question she/he will just reply -  "I will get back to you on that if you don't mind. Thanks for asking that question, I sure love to do research and learn the best and right answer all the time! - iSKA" Moreover, iSKA knows you too and call you by your name FB or Messenger name!


Where will these actions be taken?

Engaging with iSKA knows no boundaries - computers, mobile devices are of course very essential in iSKA's goal to fight climate change for us. iSKA is virtually 24/7 type of worker/researcher/learner....


In addition, specify the country or countries where these actions will be taken.

No country selected


Country 2

No country selected


Country 3

No country selected


Country 4

No country selected


Country 5

No country selected


Impact/Benefits


What impact will these actions have on greenhouse gas emissions and/or adapting to climate change?

Since people tend to shy away from hard statistics, there's a need for climate change information to be translated into relatable personal interactions and experiences (Van der Linden, et. al., 2015), and iSKA strives to fulfill this challenge. In a consumer survey, around 35% agree that they try to have a positive impact on the environment through daily actions (Angus & Westbrook, 2019). The interactive chatbot weaves into our daily online presence, and can therefore serve as an important resource as more people commit to environmentally conscious behavior.

De Coninck et al. (2018), tackling lifestyle and behavioral change mitigation, have noted the following problems:  “no study addresses behavioral change strategies in the relationship with mitigation and adaptation actions in the 1.5°C context...; limited knowledge on GHG emissions reduction potential of diverse mitigation behavior across the world; lastly, most studies on factors enabling lifestyle changes have been conducted in high-income countries, more knowledge needed from low- and middle-income countries, and the focus is typically on enabling individual behavior change, far less on enabling change in organizations and political systems.”

In the light of the above barriers to lifestyle and behavioral change, not only with individuals but also on the level of organizations as well as political systems and overall considering the present milieu of more people having smartphones and computer devices for hooking into the internet (as well as the popularity of apps like Facebook Messenger, portal being used by iSKA in chatting with us humans) the present generation too called millennials (study made by Nielsen showed they are willing to pay more as consumers for sustainability reasons; see also Ojala, Maria and Lakew, Yuliya., 2017.;  where present  generation are seen to be more caring about the environment), are essentially the target audience of our AI or digitally enabled chatbot for various modes of self-learning not only the science of climate change but the “actions” necessary to lessen individuals’ carbon emission.

The sense of belongingness  too in a community of learners reading and signing an e-petition for just a little less than two minutes and sharing it to friends, family, and colleagues via Facebook and Messenger (Nobel Laureate, Daniel Kahneman said, “It is only a slight exaggeration to say that happiness is the experience of spending time with people you love and who love you.”), might be enough motivation of simply something that we can all do together. Oftentimes, we look for what significant other people are “thinking and feeling” when we delve with problems both personally and socially.

Moreover, as an added task for our chatbot, iSKA will be the ultimate connections socially and politically, since national leaders often see  “petitions” as important factors of what legislative agenda to prioritize and guide their services to the people and the environment. 


What are other key benefits?

Our objective is two fold --

1. iSKA is an interactive advocat / communicator chatbot and the goal is to communicate with almost anyone young and old on simple lifestyle behavior change or adjustments that may change the impact of consumer-driven (aren't we all?) carbon emission to our environment.

2. iSKA can communicate through texting, video, images and even collect or facilitate e-petitions or e-pledges. This petition/pledges gathering is as important as the lifestyle changes we want to see in all individuals in this world, for we believe as a group of communicators that "social changes" will happen if our world leaders are themselves willing to change, enact enabling  laws that will address the problem of our environment. As such we ambitiously, assigned our chatbot in collecting a million e-pledges by Earth Day 2020 (A year from now).    

The prospect of gathering 1 Million  e-pledges by Earth Day 2020 considering the network of people connected to Facebook and Messenger is somewhat "realistic" if we consider Statista's Report which says, in the US alone the number of users is projected to grow to 139.2 million users in 2020.

Moreover, proposal or project iSKA, as a platform for learning and communicating climate change can text subscribers now and then, about important reminders, news updates and other relevant and timely information on how to make our environment more "greener"....It can be programmed to connect with the projected million(s) of subscribers worldwide as often as possible, and even send the image you are seeing right now!    

Or a message reminding subscribers such as this one --

    "Hi, {{first name}} how are you today my friend? I hope.... 

      (exchanges and finally adieu by iSKA may take the form of an environmental quote)

    “I only feel angry when I see waste. When I see people throwing away things we could use.”
                                                                                            —Mother Teresa

      or 

 

      "Nature is our treasure, help save it."

      etc.

 

Possibilities with iSKA as a communicator, ambassadress, teacher, researcher, surveyor and collector of e-pledges to drum up people in political institutions, organizations and even churches is simply mind-boggling. Even, the UN lately came up with their own AI or chatbot but iSKA is truly unique in so many ways. (She/he can even say merci beaucoup). This is perhaps the most important benefit situating an advocacy for helping the environment thru the digital technology available today the ease of building a huge network of a global in scope of those willing to contribute to giving our children a bright and better future. Communication then is no longer a tool for sending messages back and forth but in fact creates social reality itself. 

 


Costs/Challenges


What are the proposal’s projected costs?

249 $ a month for upgrade to platinum plan with Formstack capable of receiving 100,000 e-pledges a month. Thus, $2,988 is our projected cost but we are also exploring other apps provider for the e-petition hopefully we can get 1 Million submissions for free.

The above is the only expenses thus far we can think of since we are running everything through free apps in terms of creating and maintenance of iSKA chatbot. Our thanks to chatfuel, Facebook and Messenger and the support of the UPOU community in particular our classmates and professors in the said university.

The time and effort of the members of the team sans compensation for now and driven by the desire to (just) help in the fight against climate change  hopefully will be rewarded in the future….

Overall, engagement with iSKA the climate bot is all the time FREE of charge, leveraging one's network in social media by sharing iSKA to others will gauge its efficacy in educating the public about climate change that people can simply do something about this big problem.

READ IMPORTANT UPDATES --

Subject: Projected cost for maintenance of the e-pledges is back to zero since the group got hold of

Change.Org's free hosting of  e-petition/e-pledges. Compared to the "Formstack" mentioned above.


Timeline

The impact of chatbot (design and creation) specially with respect to "business" has proven its effect in "selling" and connecting with its consumers driven by the internet and on a 24/7 basis; compared to a physical store whereby you have to wait for the store to open and "customers" are put on waitlist line to get the information  (wait for a sales associate to discuss matters with the customers)...chatbot or ai can already take the information to your existing or potential customers at the latter's convenience. Every brand are now into ai development and deployment and our projection or timeline for its impact may take less than a year specially with the "actions" that individuals can readily  take towards helping fight climate change. Reminders of these "actions" are part and parcel of the functionalities of  chatbot and can further motivate people to pro-environment in their personal lifestyle. We want people a shift in behavior now and within the coming 5 years for the simple reason that more than 5 years for them to shift behavior in climate change problems may already be too late  (In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released their special report on the action "that would be required to keep global temperatures within a 1.5 degrees Celsius target." Notably, in that special report is the importance of individuals as well as organizations worldwide to be aware of the "actions" needed to lessen carbon emission. iSKA can communicate those "actions"....  


About the author(s)

Artin Umali, Jade Snow Dionzon, Francis Raymond Calbay, Arlyn Pagunsan, Danny/Michelle Cruz; all doctoral students in communication at the University of the Philippines, Open University helped in creating/programming iSKA to teach or remind us everyday the simple practical things we can do in our lives to control our personal carbon footprint.

This is the UPOU Oblation at the University of the Philippines, Los Banos, Laguna

 

 

 

 


Related Proposals

This proposal submitted to MIT Colab 3 years ago although it was not able to gain traction for proprietary reasons relative to organizations owning Siri's et al., making it difficult to collaborate and  add tweaks to what Siri et al. can do back then. The title of the proposal  -- How Siri can save the world! What if Siri, Cortana, Alexa can save the planet? (Semi-finalist) made by one of our teammates, Danny Cruz....

 

However, the challenges encountered by Danny before may no longer apply because this time like Siri, iSKA is a digital assistant or ai that can communicate climate change and the barriers usually attendant to its communication and influencing lifestyle behavior changes. 


References

References:

Angus, A. & Westbrook, G. (2019). Top 10 Global Consumer Trends 2019. Rockville: Euromonitor International.

de Coninck, H., A. Revi, M. Babiker, P. Bertoldi, M. Buckeridge, A. Cartwright, W. Dong, J. Ford, S. Fuss, J.-C. Hourcade, D. Ley, R. Mechler, P. Newman, A. Revokatova, S. Schultz, L. Steg, and T. Sugiyama, 2018: Strengthening and Implementing the Global Response. In: Global Warming of 1.5°C. An IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty [Masson-Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, H.-O. Portner, D. Roberts, J. Skea, P.R. Shukla, A. Pirani, W. Moufouma-Okia, C. Pean, R. Pidcock, S. Connors, J.B.R. Matthews, Y. Chen, X. Zhou, M.I. Gomis, E. Lonnoy, T. Maycock, M. Tignor, and T. Waterfield (eds.)]. In Strengthening and Implementing the Global Response (Chapter 4)

IPCC, 2018: Summary for Policymakers. In: Global Warming of 1.5°C. An IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty [Masson-Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, H.-O. Pörtner, D. Roberts, J. Skea, P.R. Shukla, A. Pirani, W. Moufouma-Okia, C. Péan, R. Pidcock, S. Connors, J.B.R. Matthews, Y. Chen, X. Zhou, M.I. Gomis, E. Lonnoy, T. Maycock, M. Tignor, and T. Waterfield (eds.)]. World Meteorological Organization, Geneva, Switzerland, 32 pp.

Nielsen report (2015). CONSUMER-GOODS' BRANDS THAT DEMONSTRATE COMMITMENT TO SUSTAINABILITY OUTPERFORM THOSE THAT DON’T retrieved from https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/press-room/2015/consumer-goods-brands-that-demonstrate-commitment-to-sustainability-outperform.html

Ojala, Maria and Lakew, Yuliya. (2017). Young People and Climate Change Communication. Retrieved from http://oxfordre.com/climatescience/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228620.001.0001/acrefore-9780190228620-e-408

Statistical report(s) on mobile devices, broadband internet penetration and other aspects relative to applications (FB Messenger etc.) Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/330695/number-of-smartphone-users-worldwide/

Van der Linden, S., Maibach, E. & Leiserowitz, A. (2015). "Improving Public Engagement With Climate Change: Five "Best Practice" Insights From Psychological Science". Perspectives on Psychological Science, 10(6): 758-63.