Doug - messenger-based political assistant bot


APT sponsor prize @ TartanHacks Spring '17

[ Django | api.ai | NLTK | Microsoft Cognitive Services ]

Richard Chiang, Sid Malladi, and Kishan Patel

Feb 2017 @ Carnegie Mellon University


Doug (named after Doug Stamper from House of Cards) provides a political news digest to users upon request across the Facebook Messenger interface. Based on the citizen's interests and values, they can seamlessly contact their senators, donate to causes, or get involved in local activism to make a difference.


Today’s political climate is full of energy and strong opinions. But it is often difficult to channel this energy in a meaningful way. The knowledge bias is also very prevalent due to echo chambers throughout social media. So, we wanted to build a product that properly informs citizens about different perspectives in our political landscape, encourages them to reflect on their values, and get more involved in the political process.

Doug provides a political news digest to the user upon request, and can even take search queries to further provide content related to a particular topic. It can provide bite-sized summaries of the latest events and policy decisions. Based on the citizen’s interests and values, they can seamlessly contact their Senators, donate to causes, or get involved in local activism to make a difference. The end goal is to have Doug be a reliable friend that one can vent to and receive insight from.

We used a Python/Django server that connected to an api.ai NLP engine, Facebook Messenger interface, machine learning models, and Microsoft Cognitive Services.