The best way to learn a new concept is to have someone personally teach you.
Sadly, however, good teachers are few and far between.
To get around this problem, there exists a plethora of resources that aim to fill the gap. A quick explainer on Youtube, Wikipedia, Coursera and Khan Academy, are all workable and often informative examples. I myself have used Khan Academy many a time. But, even these solutions don’t truly replace a real teacher.
Because you can’t ask questions to a video or an article. You can re-read or re-watch them, but at the end of the day the content is immutable and flows in one direction.
The internet offers us benefits of accessibility, but, when compared to a good teacher, diminishes quality.
Now, as I am sure, my Indian compatriots will point out, there is an ideal middle ground. Services like Vedantu, provide a marketplace for tuition teachers who can be hired to teach over the internet.
But this comes at a literal cost. You have to pay for classes.
This got me thinking. Is there a way to reap the best of both worlds? The cheapness and accessibility of the internet and the conversational experience of learning.
Working in the conversational commerce space, the solution seemed obvious.
I already use Purple on Messenger to explain the news to me, so why not use a bot to teach me complex concepts.
So I decided to try it out myself. I tried to build a bot that explains a concept to you better than a video.
As for what concept I picked, I had to choose something complex enough to be a challenge and interesting enough to pique my curiosity. I settled on bitcoin.
I scoured the internet and after several TED talks, wikipedia articles, reddit forums and youtube videos. I found that Vox has a great all around explainer on the hype that surrounds bitcoin.
After going through this video, this is what I did.
I made a bot that tries to explain the same thing : https://hellotars.com/convBot/demos/bitcoin/
I hope you learn something new and would love to hear whether you think bots have the potential to make education more accessible.
Ish is the co-founder at Tars. His day-to-day activities primarily involve making sure that the Tars tech team doesn’t burn the office to the ground. In the process, Ish has become the world champion at using a fire extinguisher and intends to participate in the World Fire Extinguisher championship next year.