Lola is the talking AI pup that prepares you to own a real dog
Lola teaches you to be the best pet parent before you even take your pup home.
The future of talking bots is here, and it goes by the name Lola.
Okay, Lola won’t answer all of your general questions and set reminders like Alexa. But it could hint at talking bots to come that will focus on narrower, more specific tasks.
The AI mutt is meant to prepare people for dog ownership before they actually get their hands on a pup. Victor Vetancourt, an associate creative director at Dieste, created Lola using the API.AI tool. He and his business partner Leirum Rivas wrote almost all of the dialogue.
Lola uses voice, not textual dialogue, for a reason.
“Texting is being on our mobiles for so long (and that’s not bad at all) that we kind of get used to it. But after Siri, and with the boom of Alexa, it feels to be more natural, approachable, and fascinating at the same time,” Vetancourt said in a Twitter conversation. “By fascinating, I can add that hearing a voice coming from a device and based on machine learning algorithm is fascinating rather than scary. And since our mission is to help dogs, there’s an emotional link very important there.”
The whole point of Lola is to make people aware of what it’s really like to be a dog owner random non-stop barking and all before they take on the full responsibility. The bot will even throw in a joke every once in a while to keep you entertained.
It’s currently being used with the non-profit Dallas Pets Alive, which hopes to use the partnership to help homeless dogs in Texas.
“Our bot is not selling stuff, it is trying to save as many lives as possible by training adults and kids before they adopt a dog. So the voice factor is really important in our case,” said Vetancourt. “Why Google Home? I think the name of the device, Google HOME, has a lot to do with the idea. Dallas Pets Alive’s mission is to foster as many dogs as possible in a forever home.”
Lola will tell users it is going to run around in circles and chase a butterfly while they try to go for a run, and details other weird things dogs do on the regular.
“I think in the near future bots will definitely be more task-specific. For example, the way apps evolved, people tend to use more apps on their phone that are more tailored to their needs,” said Vetancourt. “On the other hand, Google Assistant can’t help with everything. It relies on third parties, agents, same with Alexa and her skills.”
Lola is just one AI mutt for now. But, by the looks of it, you could be seeing more talking bots coming to consumer tech any day now.