KARL, der Ökobot Kirsten Hillebrand, Hendrik Hinrichs, Tobias Freund
Fairtrade, organic supermarkets and organic clothing: Sustainable behaviour, and environmental and climate protection are supported by many people in Germany – at least in theory. In everyday life, however, many people are unsure about what to look for specifically; they regard the information about products as untrustworthy and stick to their buying routines for the sake of convenience. These are the findings of the master’s thesis by Hendrik Hinrichs from the University of Bremen. The master’s thesis by Kerstin Hillebrand, who studied chatbots in sustainable behaviour, came up with similar conclusions. The result is KARL, der Ökobot (“the eco-bot”). With this chatbot, every consumer is provided with a personal assistant. KARL knows the needs, routines, tastes and buying behaviour of its users and also has comprehensive knowledge about quality labels and the life cycle assessment of products. With this information, KARL provides its users with personalised tips and suggestions on how they can include sustainability in their everyday lives without the need for any major restrictions or changes. “We ourselves would also benefit from Karl’s support in our day-to-day lives” says Hendrik Hinrichs. The team has already received an award for the concept from the Donors’ association for the promotion of humanities and sciences in Germany and the Amazon company. They receive financial support and belong to the nationwide network “Digital Engagiert”. Tobias Freund is currently busy programming behind the scenes so that KARL can actually become ready for the market. KARL has already mastered small talk, and the next step is training with the users’ data to ensure that it will soon be ready for use.