Software Development
Cybersecurity / Food and drink / Good Works

Taco-loving bot Hey Pedro! spices up Slack

He dances. He tells jokes. He's a great little taco. (And he's created by a D.C.-area technologist.)

Doug Dosberg set out to create a Slackbot with personality. Meet Pedro. (Courtesy image)

File this under #dctech passion projects spawned by #Snowzilla.
During the storm Doug Dosberg decided to create a Slackbot named Hey Pedro! It works like this — add Hey Pedro! to your Slack channel and then recognize great things members of your team say or do by giving them a taco. (A :taco: emoji, that is. Note: Despite the grave disappointment of some, Pedro does not yet enable the giving of real tacos.) Pedro keeps track of who gets the most tacos in a leaderboard. He also responds to a few commands, including “dance”:

See Pedro dance. (GIF via Hey Pedro!)

See Pedro dance. (GIF via Hey Pedro!)

Pedro was at least partially inspired by PlusPlus — the chatbot for Slack that allows users to “plus” (+) or “minus” (-) things others say and keep track in a leaderboard. Dosberg liked the idea of PlusPlus, but found it to be lacking personality. That, he decided, was a problem he could fix.
Dosberg, who works at The Motley Fool in Alexandria, Va., by day, is super interested in chatbots. He’s a UX designer, and he spends a lot of time thinking about how bots and AI will change UX. Essentially, he thinks bots will shift focus away from design and towards personality. Hence Pedro.

“I’m really just looking to learn,” Dosberg said. “This is a whole big experiment for me. Ultimately I’d like to take what I learn from Pedro and improve him, or create something else.” Pedro is actually Dosberg’s second Slackbot and, he says, the more intelligent one.
So why tacos? That, as you may have guessed, ties back to the question of personality. Originally, Dosberg said, he was thinking about using beer. But a colleague convinced him that it might limit his reach, so he decided to go with tacos. “Tacos are kinda fun,” he said. We agree.


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