Watson Conversation Services
Estimated Cost of Materials
15 — 19+
IBM Cloud, Machine Learning, Watson
This Activity Kit introduces students to Watson Conversation, a cognitive chatbot that understands questions by learning. The Activity Kit enables anyone to configure a bot that can understand words, speak and respond to simple tones associated with emotions. Students will learn how Watson Conversation works using a hands-on approach. The volunteer instructor will present different chatbot case studies and will guide students through co-creating a chatbot for an imaginary business together as a class. This Activity Kit will help students become familiar with the technology increasingly used in call centers, automobiles, and such services as smart speakers (e.g. Alexa). This class is led by the teacher to avoid having students acquire IBM Cloud credentials.
- An IBM Cloud account for the instructor
- Students must have computers with internet access
- The room must have powerpoint presentation capabilities
- Register for an IBM Cloud account if you do not have one already.
- We recommend spending at least 30 minutes exploring Watson Conversation Services and testing out your own chatbot. To start, Create a Workplace for this activity by following the link below and logging in with your IBM Cloud credentials. Once on this site, search and select "Watson Assistant." In the "Service name" box, enter a unique name; this will be the title of your Workplace. Do not edit any of the other fields. Scroll down and select the "Lite" plan in the "Pricing Plan" section. Click "Create." You have just created a new Service.
- After you have created the Service, click "Launch Watson Assistant."
- Click "Get Started Now." This is the final step before you can start creating skills for your Watson Assistant. When you present this activity, this is when you will engage your students by asking questions to see what skills they want to enable their class assistant to do. This is a great time to discuss what skills, intents and entities are. If you get stuck, there are many helpful videos on the site.
- Review the presentation material and practice your talking points.
- Run-through the activity steps in the notes of the presentation to ensure you can help answer questions students may have as you co-create your Watson Assistant with the class.
- Review the steps in the Prepare phase and make sure you can articulate key concepts and that you are comfortable setting up the Service.
- Ensure you understand everything that is possible and that you explore the different ways you can build your chatbot.
- Ensure that the classroom has a computer with internet access and that the room has powerpoint presentation capabilities
- After your introduction, walk through the powerpoint directions in the presentation slides with the class. Ensure you are engaging students throughout by asking for their input and calling on students to make decisions about what to create. We recommend starting with the Customer Care Sample Skill to review what Intents, Entities and Dialogues are with the students - please note you can only use one Skill on an assistant at a time.
- After you explore the site with the students, we recommend you asking the class to create an imaginary business that they want their chatbot to support. This could be any business that deals with questions from customers. Some ideas include a clothing store, an auto body shop or an energy company. Then, keeping this imaginary business in mind, create your own Skill. We recommend starting with a skill like "Directions," or "Store Inventory."
- Click "Create dialog skill" and then click "Intents." This is where you will define the purpose of why a customer might be seeking assistance. You may want to use something like #stock_levels to indicate what your business has in stock. Then create a description and enter some examples of what a customer might type in if they want to find out if a store has certain items. Be sure to ask the students for their input! Once you have created your "Intent," return to the previous screen and then follow the onscreen steps for "Entities" - this is very similar to creating an Intent. We recommend making a few of each so you have lots to work with when you start to create the chatbot responses. Make sure to keep students engaged by asking them to think deeply about what the customer of their imagined business might want out of this chatbot.
- After you have created your Intents and Entities, click "Dialog" to write your chatbot responses. Click "Add node" and enter the information like the example provided below.
- Test your chatbot! In the top right corner of the screen, click "Try it" and see your chatbot come to life! Enter different queries based off of your Intents and Entities and see how your chatbot responds. Remember to point out how Watson learns - even if you don't put an exact query into your Intents and Entities, the chatbot may still give the right information. Note how you can see the information Watson is using to produce the answer and that if the chatbot is wrong, you can correct it to help it avoid future mistakes.
IBM Cloud Account Information for Volunteers
IBM employees are encouraged to use their internal IBM Cloud accounts, which include all Lite services at no charge. IBM volunteers can also register for a Lite account following the link below. Questions can also be posted on the IBM Volunteers Slack channel.
Both IBM volunteers and non-IBM volunteers who require Cloud access beyond a Lite account are encouraged to request access to the IBM Citizenship Cloud by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following subject line “Citizenship Cloud Access.” In the body of the email, please outline what cloud resources you need and which Activity Kit will be used. Students will get appropriate access directly from their teachers. Volunteers who only require a Lite account do not need to ask for access to the IBM Citizenship Cloud.