GOTCHABACK BOT

inspiration

In “Creating the Atlanta Community Engagement Playbook”, Asad and LeDantec write about how there is a need to “trust the process” when doing community development work (Asad, Miriam and Christopher LeDantec). The idea of trusting the process means when the community conversations are rough, like the ones they heard between city government officials and its residents, there is a faith in the process that everything will turn out for the better in the end. By following this, Asad and Le Dantec were able to develop the Atlanta Community Engagement Playbook in collaboration with the community over a period of nine months.

design

The Gotchaback Bot is a robot that functions as group assistant in office settings. This robot roams around the office asking what people in the office are working on and how they are faring in its progress. This robot also serves as a messenger for individuals who have too much work to physically stand up to speak to someone else in another part of the building. Employees can request menial tasks like printing and copying of the robot. Throughout all these tasks, the robot is analyzing the data it collected and formulating an office review, where a suggestion about how to make the office better is revealed.

critique

In the world where this design exists, humans would need to approve and consider collaboration with robot to be normal. These robots are intended to be used in a traditional office space, thus an office needs to exists, which may be an issue considering the increasing popularity of working remotely. These office spaces would also need to be large offices, so that the robot is more efficient and convenient than for the person to do the job on their own. Considering the use of these bots, in an office space, they could be used in other areas like a fetcher in grocery stores or as an aid to a construction worker/s. For these technologies, these robots would need to be flawless, because they deal with people’s professional careers and livelihoods – the risk is the robot ruining something on the job, causing more harm than good.

takeaway

The Gotchaback Bot is an example of Asad and LeDantec’s idea on “trusting the process” in community decision making, but it falls short of creating a community-reviewed plan. The Gotchaback Bot is a trusted robot in the professional office environment unto which different menial yet important tasks are assigned to. From the intimidate relationship it has with each person’s data it develops a way to make the office more efficient. Both the Gotchaback Bot and Asad and LeDantec enter a community as trusted process catalysts, but Gotchaback Bot develops a plan on its own from consultation of the data, while Asad and LeDantec allow the data to consult itself (i.e. people’s experiences coexist and need to be discussed as a collective to develop a plan for all). The Gotchaback Bot is an external entity developing a plan, while in Asad and LeDantec’s approach, they empowered the community to develop a plan amongst themselves.

Asad, Miriam and Christopher LeDantec. “Creating the Atlanta Community Engagement Playbook.” Atlanta Studies. November 09, 2017. https://doi.org/10.18737/atls20171109