We are now living in the age of chat bots. Whether they be tied to apps like Slack or Facebook Messenger, chat bots have eliminated the need for users to take car of annoying, time-consuming tasks, such as translating photos, requesting a ride home, ordering tacos, and even posting offensive tweets. And now we can add calling 911 to the list.
Built during TechCrunch‘s Disrupt Hackathon in New York over the weekend, the 911bot for Facebook Messenger allows users to report emergencies through a chat-based interface. While this sounds completely ridiculous, it actually offers some advantages over the typical phone call, such as adding photos and exact location data to a report.
For example, in the case of a traffic accident, if a user reports the incident with 911bot, the software will automatically contact 911 emergency services to file the report with location information. The bot will also let them attach photos or video of the scene, as well as provide information on what actions they should and shouldn’t take. This last feature could be especially useful for a bystander that might start to panic at what they’ve seen.
In the case of a cardiac arrest emergency, 911bot will present instructions on performing CPR, which if performed within the first 5 minutes, greatly increases a person’s chance of survival. Not bad for taking place inside an app that’s primarily used for sharing GIFs and emoji.
It would certainly require a lot of testing to be proven to work well, but it has the potential to be useful in an emergency situation if it’s ever released.