April Fools: Introducing Waddle: The AI chatbot for campus geese

A goose uses the new Waddle app to order from Chik Mex (image partially generated by AI).

A goose uses the new Waddle app to order from Chik Mex (image partially generated by AI).

Published April 1, 2024

In an effort to improve relations between students and geese, UBIT has recently unveiled an AI chatbot specifically tailored for our feathered friends on UB’s campus. Aptly named “Waddle,” this goose-friendly virtual assistant aims to revolutionize communication between humans and geese. 

The genesis of Waddle

Michael Canfield.

April Fools is celebrated every year on April 1 by playing practical jokes and spreading hoaxes. Some newspapers, magazines, and other published media report fake stories, which are usually explained the next day. Although popular since the 19th century, the day is not a public holiday in any country.

The idea was hatched during a brainstorming session at UBIT.  

“Geese are an integral part of our campus ecosystem,” said Diana Tuorto, Director of UBIT Communications. “They honk, they waddle, and they occasionally cause traffic jams. Why not create a chatbot to engage with them?” 

And so, Waddle was born—a digital companion fluent in goose-speak, ready to decode their honks and squawks.

Waddle’s features

  • Multilingual honking: Waddle understands various goose dialects, from the assertive “I found a breadcrumb!” to the contemplative “What’s the meaning of life?"
  • Weather updates: Geese can now ask Waddle about rain forecasts, wind speed, and optimal flying conditions. Waddle’s response? “Sunny skies ahead, my feathered friend!”
  • Goose jokes: Waddle’s repertoire includes classic goose humor. “Why did the goose cross the road? To prove it wasn’t chicken!”

Goose reactions

Initially skeptical, campus geese gathered by Lake Lasalle on a recent Tuesday to test Waddle. One anonymous goose shared how it used the chatbot:

Goose: “Waddle, why do humans chase us with cellphones?”

Waddle: “Ah, my feathered friend! Humans seek validation through pixels. Flap your wings dramatically, strike a pose, hiss a little, and they’ll retreat.”

April Fool’s prank or genius move?

There are rumors circulating that Waddle might be an elaborate prank. But UBIT insists otherwise: “Waddle isn’t just a chatbot; it’s an early example of technology’s potential. Imagine geese collaborating with our CRM system!”

Indeed, Waddle’s impact ripples beyond the lake. Students marvel at its prowess, while UBIT envisions a future where geese and humans coexist harmoniously—thanks to a quirky chatbot named Waddle.

Disclaimer: No geese were harmed in the making of this chatbot.