We at GuideLive like to think of ourselves as your friends in the know, always ready to share news and tips on what to do and where to eat in Dallas-Fort Worth. Now we'd like to introduce you to our friend: Lucy the chatbot.
A chatbot is a computer program trained to answer questions. Lucy lives on Facebook and uses casual conversation so you don't feel like you're talking to a robot, even though she's super smart and works like one. Think of Lucy as your personal social director, a friendly concierge who lives inside Facebook (you're on there anyway, right?) and always answers your texts.
So how does she work? Basically, you message Lucy just like you'd contact anyone else on Facebook. Only Lucy will never ignore you, and she's an expert on Dallas events and restaurants. (Her name comes from the original Dallas TV series, by the way.)
Lucy was created by students at the University of Texas at Austin and the data and interactives team at The Dallas Morning News.
How to meet Lucy
If you're using a computer, head to Lucy's Facebook page. Browse around, maybe click "Like" while you're there. Then, when you're ready to ask questions, click "Send Message."
If you're on a smartphone, you can check out Lucy's Facebook page — search for "Lucy from Dallas" — or head straight to the Facebook Messenger app to start a conversation.
Type "Hello" — "hey," "hi" and "howdy" work, too — and Lucy will be at your service.
Looking for an event such as a festival, holiday celebration, fun for the kids or a night out?
Name an event type — art, comedy, family-friendly, festivals, movies or something similar — or use "anything" to search every option, then add a time frame such as today, tomorrow, this weekend, next week or next month.
For example, try "What family-friendly events are there this weekend?"
Want to hear some music?
Type "concert" and a time frame, and Lucy will ask for a genre. "Anything" will show all concerts, or narrow the results by requesting a favorite kind of music such as blues, country, indie, jazz, rap, rock or soul.
Ready to eat?
To find restaurants, ask for a cuisine and a neighborhood, such as "Where can I get pizza in Deep Ellum?" Lucy likes all kinds of food, including barbecue, brunch, burgers, Chinese, Mediterranean, pizza, seafood, steak, Tex-Mex and vegetarian. But she's a bit more particular about locations. Her main focus is Dallas entertainment districts such as Lower Greenville and Bishop Arts, neighborhoods such as downtown and Uptown and some of the larger suburbs such as Addison and Plano. Less picky than Lucy? Type "anywhere" if you don't have an area in mind.
Now that you've asked a question and received some results, click the arrows on the sides of the photos in order to scroll through the suggestions. To learn more about an event or a restaurant, click on the photo or one of the blue links below the picture. Instead of a list of results, you may see a link to a GuideLive story that contains the info you requested (and probably a lot of related goodies).
Need an event and a restaurant? Just type "hello" any time you need to start a new search.
Burgers in Lakewood, concerts in Deep Ellum, what to do with the kids on the weekend: Lucy's got it. But she's not Siri or Alexa, so she can't reorder toilet paper, tell you the weather, call a ride or have someone deliver a pizza. But we still think she's pretty cool, and we hope you will, too.
Have a suggestion to make her better? Email email@example.com. (She also loves to receive compliments.)