March 7, 2018

SXSW 2018

ConnectBot Delivers on the Promise of Personalization at SXSW Interactive

During SXSW Interactive 2018 users were able to experience ConnectBot harnessing the Power of Why to make trusted, transparent, and relevant connections at Accenture Interactive’s Experience Cantina.

Visitors to an event like SXSW Interactive often wonder how to make the most of their down time in Austin.  One easy solution is to ask that longtime friend that moved here a decade ago. The one that really gets you.  After all, she’s wired into the local scene, and knows exactly where to find the kinds of hidden gems off the beaten path that you love so much.  

Or, if you don’t have a friend like that in town,  ConnectBot can help.

Trusted, expert guidance and advice was the latest addition to the capabilities of Accenture Interactive’s ConnectBot, and was on full display at this years’ SXSW events.  Developed in partnership with Austin’s own Cycorp, ConnectBot is now an interactive, personalized experience curator that connects you to the people and places you love – a glimpse into the future of differentiated customer experiences, developed with technology that’s already here.

To create a trusted authority on all things Austin, Accenture Interactive and Cycorp tapped four longtime residents with a passion for the city’s vibrant social scene, each deeply knowledgeable about anything and everything that Keeps Austin Weird.  They’re the type of people with insights that extend well beyond anything you’d find in a standard “Best Of” list. Because a handful of experts doesn’t scale, they taught ConnectBot everything they know about where to go and what to do in the Live Music Capital of the World.  

One important lesson they taught ConnectBot is that the perfect Austin experience is different for everyone.  Static demographic data and dry collections of marketing attributes paint an incomplete picture of the individual, lacking in richness, depth, and nuance.  True personalization isn’t about knowing what choices people make, it’s understanding why they make them.  

ConnectBot understands that relevance depends on the why.  Before making any suggestions, ConnectBot engages visitors in a dialogue to learn about each individual’s unique preferences, attitudes, beliefs, and interests.  With that knowledge, ConnectBot recommends places and activities it infers you’ll enjoy most, and explains to you precisely how and why it arrived at that conclusion.

The Artificial Understanding that enables ConnectBot to move beyond the what and on to the why comes from Cycorp’s one-of-a-kind Knowledge Representation and Reasoning software platform, known as “Cyc.”  Cyc is the product of a large-scale engineering effort to build a type of artificial intelligence similar to human common sense.  Powered by logical deduction and causal models rather than algorithms trained big data, Cyc works where other AI doesn’t, and does things other AI can’t.

Imagine a SX visitor, Chris, walks up to ConnectBot and indicates an interest in visiting scenic locations and swimming while in Austin.  Cyc reasons in the following way:

  • Both would be covered by Hamilton Pool and Barton Springs Pool.
  • Hamilton Pool is more scenic.
  • But, it rained heavily yesterday, so the ground is still wet.
  • You need to take a steep dirt trail to Hamilton Pool.

  • Dirt turns muddy when its wet.
  • Muddy dirt is slippery.
  • Safe walking on steep slippery trails requires appropriate footwear.
  • Barton Springs has paved walkways.

So, Cyc recommends Barton Springs.  Chris asks why.

  • Cyc explains: “You are visiting from out of town, so I think you don’t have appropriate shoes with you for a steep slippery hike. Is that right?”

Chris indicates this assumption is wrong. Cyc updates its model of Chris  and adjusts its recommendation, now fully recommending Hamilton Pool over Barton Springs.