Reflections on ‘Code the City’ — AI and Chatbots Weekend

It always amazes me the passion and commitment of people to come together and try something new. For me, the Code the City (CTC8) on Chatbots and Artificial Intelligence (AI) was a perfect example of an informal approach to learning and innovation.

The Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE) sponsored the Code the City, AI and Chatbots hack weekend. Code the City is a civic hacking initiative interested in hack weekends, open data, workshops and idea generation. The ALLIANCE, through our ALISS Programme is passionate about looking at innovative ways to help people live well.

It all started early on Saturday morning and after 10 hours of coding, logic modelling and developing the teams have made good progress. Here’s a lowdown on where all the teams are:

ALISS chatbot (a chatbot is a computer programme that conducts a conversation with a person via text or voice)

  • The team are looking at using chatbot technology to interrogate the data held on to help people find local health and wellbeing support
  • The team have documented use cases and the logic that goes behind the cases
  • They’ve build a web chatbot demonstrator to showcase the principles behind the idea

City consult

  • The team are developing a survey chatbot, that goes beyond just the “yes” and “no” but asks for reasons and justifications for the answers
  • They have a server and a frontend webpage set up
  • They are close to having a SQL database set up


  • The team are building a slack bot using to help people not to book meetings — with a bit of character
  • The paper prototype is aspirational, but has a flavour of the principles of the approach
  • The Slack versions is still in early development

Team Bot

  • They are working on a chatbot of events at any time, specific to a local area
  • They are pulling in a variety of feeds from different websites and creating a front end interface to query and obtain responses
  • A big challenge is the lack of consistency in event information in local authority and other websites.


  • The team are developing a chatbot to help people find the opening and closing times of local places
  • The Facebook Messenger interface is setup
  • They are looking at obtaining the information from external sources

Seymour Bot

  • They are developing a light-hearted and helpful bot to help people look after their houseplants
  • Running in Slack, the current state is you can tell it what plants you have, what plants you’ve gave away and what plants you’ve killed
  • The next step is to set reminders for watering and suggest new plants dependent on sunlight and your success in keeping plants

For a peek at all the tech stack check out the Code the City GitHub repository.

You can also follow @alissprogramme and @codethecity on Twitter.

Douglas Maxwell, ALISS Programme Manager, Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE)

ALISS is an information service which aims to make health and wellbeing support and activities easier to find.

ALISS is an information service which aims to make health and wellbeing support and activities easier to find.