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CivicBots – Chatbots for Supporting Youth in Societal Participation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of CONVERSATIONS 2019: Third International Workshop on Chatbot Research
PublisherSpringer, Cham
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020
Publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication


Supporting young people to participate in societal development is an important factor in achieving sustainable future. Digital solutions can be designed to help youth participate in civic activities, such as city planning and legislation. To this end, we are using human-centered approach to study how digital tools can help youth discuss their ideas on various societal issues. Chatbots are conversational agents that have potential to trigger and support thought processes, as well as online activities. In this context, we are exploring how chatbots – which we call CivicBots – can be used to support youth (16–27 years) in societal participation. We created three scenarios for CivicBots and evaluated them with the youth in an online survey (N = 54). Positive perceptions of the youth concerning CivicBots suggest that CivicBots can advance equality and they may be able to reach youth better than a real person. On the negative side, CivicBots may cause unpleasant interactions by their over-proactive behaviour, and trustworthiness is affected by fears that the bot does not respect user’s privacy, or that it provides biased or limited information about societally important issues.