Ask Alice a question!

5 August 2007: Want to chat or ask a question but cannot find someone to talk to during your visit to our SIM? Alice, our new 24/7 in-house resident “expert” (pictured below), might be able to help you and also put a smile on your RL face! She never gets tired, but won’t allow you to repeat the same words over and over again. She will even direct you to some suitable Web sites if she is unable to fully understand your question/answer you!

Click to enlarge.
Ask Alice (our pseudo-intelligent chatbot) a question about contraception or STIs! Alice can be found 24/7 inside our glass building. Click her to hear a warm ‘Welcome’ in a female voice and then start chatting with her! Inset: Human help is also available using our new ‘online tracker’ gadget, which visitors can use to send us instant messages when we are in-world but not in our SIM.

Our ‘Alice chatterbot’ is intended to present some simple facts about contraception and STIs in a fun way, but cannot replace consultation with a real human expert. For best results, try including common keywords like ‘condom’ or ‘herpes’ in your questions, and only ask her simple questions, e.g., ‘What is…’ or ‘Tell me some info about…’ type of questions. (Her answers may sound silly or out of context sometimes, but at least will never harm you or offer you incorrect facts/info.)

Maged built this gadget using only one prim (plus L$20 to upload Alice’s picture and voice), and powered it by creating a modified version of SL:Dedric Mauriac’s public domain Eliza Chatbot script. (A second script is also included to play Alice’s sound when a user clicks the gadget.)

Click to enlarge.
We have also uploaded a few useful slides about the prevention of STIs into our in-world PowerPoint Viewer, which is located by the sea in our open-air seminar area. (Our 3-prim Slide Viewer object is a creation of SL:Eloise Pasteur and can be obtained from her in-world vendor at the ICT Library Shop.)

Our latest in-world visitor statistics show that we have had more than 160 unique visitors/avatars in the first three weeks after our initial launch, between 12 July 2007 and 4 August 2007 (the figure with repeat visitors would be much higher for the same period — the corresponding SL traffic figures for our SIM fluctuated up and down between 10 and >300 over the same three-week period; SL traffic calculation takes into account the length of visits), but our YouTube video has been viewed more than 1500 times between 25 July 2007 and 4 August 2007! Also during the same short period of about three weeks our blog’s Technorati Authority jumped from 0 to 5! (This blog entry describes a similar observation: “a SL presence has a ‘long tail of impact’ (including on the Web, outside SL) that’s measured in more than the number of avatars in any one place at any one point in time”.)

Automatic tracking of visitors’ interest in, and interaction details with, specific individual objects in our SIM would be more useful, though also technically much trickier to implement and sometimes not feasible, reliably or at all, with some object types/scenarios. But thanks to our in-world questionnaire tool we are still able to gain some insight about (some) users’ preferences/interest in, or dislike of, partcular objects or aspects of our SIM.

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One Response to “Ask Alice a question!”

  1. Mike Says:

    Interesting project – you may like to know about this:

    http://www.eu.socialtext.net/socsciweb2conf/index.cgi towards_a_social_science_of_web_2_0

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