Godbot

Building an interactive AI experience to create a digital deity.

Financial Times

godbot.staak.co.uk

We were approached by the Financial Times and agency partners to design and deliver a bold, provocative and philosophically challenging campaign. This would centre around an AI ‘digital deity’, with whom users could pose life’s big questions. 

On the first day, the FT said, “let there be a media budget” and there was, and it was good. Our clients had some ideas of how ‘disciples’ would be engaged, and this would span desktop and mobile devices as well as out-of-home screens. 

Conversation

We may have been playing God by making a digital deity, but it was our job to give the interactions a very human conversational flow. This also had to be paired with the gravitas of speaking to an all-knowing ‘higher being’.

To establish this, we developed a personality garnished with equal parts biblical rhetoric and 2001: A Space Odyssey artificial intelligence.

The responses would be prompt, tailored to the user interaction and humorous in order to challenge and entertain the user.

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Backend

Scripting an ‘organic’ dialogue which would appear to be completely unique to each interaction was both a technical and creative challenge. We created modular user flows to plan conversational paths.

These guaranteed the campaign milestones were delivered at the correct junctions whilst maintaining the theatrical veneer. Once we had these punctuational ‘content blocks’ in place we began exploring multiple variations of the messaging which would alter the tone, ensuring no two experiences were the same.

linguistic deflection

thinking

initialising

talking

passive

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Feel GodBot’s Wrath

With limited real estate on mobile devices, we had to make our entity’s visual presence adaptable to deliver all states of sentiment. Paired with the tone of copywriting, this was our method of personifying the zeros and ones into an animated being capable of all emotions ranging from calming love to Old Testament fire and brimstone.

Animation was considered throughout the design meaning these states were designed to seamlessly transition into one-another. This visual display echoed the cadence and shape of the language to suggest a living ‘being’ whilst simultaneously prompting users into action when necessary.

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Direct Line to GodBot

GodBot was designed to work on multiple levels through desktop, mobile and interactive billboards. The out of home (OOH) GodBot experience had the ability to communicate in real-time using digital billboards, stopping passers-by in their tracks and disrupting the traditional one-way advertising.

We designed ‘hook’ messaging to entice users into a conversation and paired with the use of web sockets, we allowed ‘disciples’ direct access to GodBot’s wisdom. As the user’s point of contact, the mobile experience had to be familiar to the point of being intuitive, so we designed the interface to mirror popular messaging services but with the high-end and hypnotic ‘window dressing’ found elsewhere.

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Godbot loves you

One of our challenges was to create video content for the big screen experiences. These would be placed in high footfall areas of London and New York, tempting passing users into communicating with GodBot via their phones.

Having enticed users into a conversation with GodBot, it was then our missionto extract intellectual or spiritual questions for the Almighty to answer. This was done with meticulous copywriting techniques which would ‘funnel’ an interaction into a desired area. Our custom built AI would then analyse the user’s input for sentiment, tone and context then process this against its internal knowledge base and answer appropriately providing bespoke experiences.