Nonpartisan community campaign group RockEnrol has launched a chatbot on Facebook Messenger powered by artificial intelligence to help encourage young people to vote in the General Election, something a New Zealand election campaign has never seen before.
The chatbot – aimed at young first time voters – has been programmed to accurately respond to over 200 questions about the enrolment and voting process. The chatbot was built by developers at Wellington-based software agency, Manu.
“‘RockEnrol-bot’ can answer questions such as ‘When is the election?’, ‘How do I register to vote?’ and ‘Who should I vote for?’, says 16-year-old RockEnrol spokesperson Archie Buissink. “In the case of that last one, the chatbot suggests they look at a variety of election tools online.”
Buissink thinks that young New Zealanders will find messaging the RockEnrol-bot for nonpartisan election information refreshing and easy. “Unlike trying to find the information on a website, RockEnrol-bot can deliver the same verified information as if you had texted a friend. The chatbot meets young voters where they are – on their phones. They can ask questions in a non-judgmental, nonpartisan environment, gain-ing the knowledge and confidence to make the decision to enrol and vote'”
Manu saw huge potential for a chatbot to encourage voting in this year’s election and approached RockEnrol to collaborate on the project. “We are passionate about building digital tools that contribute to positive social and community interactions,” says Manu founder, Janie Tito, "and we were very excited to collaborate with RockEnrol who are an inspiring and powerful voice for youth voting."