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The Planet

Discuss Your Ecoguilt With This Well-Meaning Chat Bot

by Kate Ryan

April 20, 2017
Image via Pixabay

Earth Day, while doing a great job of raising awareness about climate change and our planet’s preciousness, produces more shame than any other one-day holiday. Let’s face it, we’re all ecoguilty of something. Whether it’s for taking too-long showers or driving a gas-guzzling car, there’s always room for improvement when it comes to living a sustainable lifestyle. Just when you think you’ve reached the pinnacle of earth friendliness, there’s always more to do.

But it’s 2017. Why shame ourselves when we can get a chat bot to do it for us? That’s not exactly the idea behind Adobe’s Earth Day chat bot—as in, they don’t intend to shame anyone—but it could prove to be a useful tool in understanding exactly what our ecological footprint looks like and how we can minimize it. Starting Friday, April 21, tech-savvy earth enthusiasts can log onto Facebook Messenger and sign up for Adobe’s chat bot. From there, the bot prompts users to answer a few questions about how much water they use, how much food they waste, and how much paper they print.

For instance, the chat bot may pose the question in the form of a helpful fact like this: “The average office worker continues to use a staggering 10,000 sheets of copy paper every year. How many times per day do you print something out at work?” Or, you may be prompted with a question that forces you to think hard about your daily routine: “The average shower (without a water-saving shower head) uses five gallons of fresh, clean water every minute. How long is your daily shower?” And once you answer with your personal stats (don’t worry, it’s a bot so you can be honest), the chat bot churns out a customized GIF, showing you in a shareable, visual form what your carbon footprint actually looks like.

When it comes to living more sustainably, sometimes it helps to have a little nudge in the right direction. So, instead of taking heat from smug ecoperfectionists, take it from a bot. With the cold objectivity of computer-generated responses, there’s the chance we could actually digest this much-needed information. 

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Discuss Your Ecoguilt With This Well-Meaning Chat Bot