Four students from Carnegie Mellon University Africa (CMU-Africa) traveled to San Jose, California, to attend the Facebook Developer Conference F8 on April 18 –19, 2017.
The students—Lenah Chacha, Aimable Rwema, Joshua Ocero, and Davy Uwizera—earned front-row seats to the F8 conference, after distinguishing themselves during a bot party and hackathon competition held at CMU-Africa’s campus in Kigali, Rwanda in March. During the competition, students had 24 hours to develop a bot for Messenger that would address a local issue. A bot for Messenger communicates with customers using the Messenger platform and combines aspects of artificial intelligence to learn from that interaction.
The winning bot designed by Chacha and Rwema enables merchants, who do not have access to expensive inventory software, to catalogue their inventory on the bot platform and to connect with buyers.
The runner-up bot, designed by Ocero and Uwizera, helps to instantly connect farmers who are selling produce with buyers. It estimates crop price by location based on the bot interaction, which helps stakeholders react accordingly.