Last week the White House launched its first chatbot. The fact that the most powerful man on the planet is using a chatbot to receive messages has gotten a lot of people excited.

But some in the press wanted to see more. In his VentureBeat article, John Brandon noted that while the White House bot might serve as a cool new way to contact the president, it misses many opportunities, like utilizing a sophisticated artificial intelligence for language recognition and providing people with additional info about the president.

We have to admit, as we read the headlines, our imagination at Chatfuel went wild. Our Chatfuel group chat was suddenly buzzing with ideas, ranging from useful (think citizen feedback, district issues, messaging local representatives) to fun and silly (creating a way for people to vote on which suit the president should wear to the next cabinet meeting, or to suggest how the Obama family’s Christmas tree should be decorated).

But in the end, the real question was: How long would it take to build a full-featured bot that’s worthy of the White House?

Going into building a chatbot worthy of a president requires planning ahead, as with any other bot. So we started with a small but useful feature set.

Our presidential bot needed to:

  • Allow users to reach out to the president in a dedicated form
  • List the latest news about the president
  • Give virtual tours of the White House

This example provides a nice chance to show readers how easy it can be to build your first bot.


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