As a way to explore natural language services and chatbots, we at rehabstudio gave ourselves a week to make an educational tool that lets children ask questions to a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Three months later we had Tina the T. Rex, a Facebook Messenger bot for National Geographic Kids. In the process we learned a lot about the scope and limitations of commercial natural language services, the intricacies and difficulties of language and conversation, and that what children want to learn isn’t always aligned with what you want to teach them.
Peter Gasston is the senior creative technologist at +rehabstudio, a digital marketing & product agency specialising in new and disruptive technology with offices in London, New York, Belfast and San Francisco, and clients including Google, Facebook, and Diageo. He has sixteen years experience working on the web and in digital, at agency, startup and corporate levels. He has written for Net magazine, A List Apart, Smashing Magazine, and is the author of two books: The Book of CSS3 and The Modern Web.