AWS Chatbot Challenge
Written by Sue Gee   
Monday, 22 May 2017

A contest to build a chatbot that understands, and responds with, natural language and does something useful, such as booking a hotel or answering queries, is underway on Devpost. The chatbot must run on Amazon Lex and AWS Lamba and be deployed to a messaging platform like Slack, Facebook, or Twilio.



The Devpost website for this hackathon introduces it explaining:

Chatbots are changing how companies interface with their customers. With chatbots, you can easily fulfill the needs of your customers in an automated way using natural, human-like chat interfaces. Chatbots serve a variety of use cases, such as customer support, transaction fulfillment, data retrieval, or even DevOps functions (ChatOps).

However, building and running chatbots is a difficult task. First, most developers lack the deep learning expertise necessary to create bots that can intelligently interpret and respond to text. In addition, developers must also provision, manage, and scale the compute resources necessary to run the bot’s code.

This is why using Amazon Lex and AWS Lambda can help you build the sort of bots required for this contest using the former for its automatic speech recognition and its natural language understanding and the latter for serverless compute that scales automatically.


Lex, which is powered by the same technology as Amazon Alexa, lets you build conversational interfaces into any application using voice and text, see Amazon Lets Us All Use Lex To Build A Bot for more information. AWS Lambda will allow you to run bot code for tasks such as data retrieval, updates, and custom logic, all without provisioning or managing servers and help using it in relation to Alexa can be found in the 3-part series, AWS Lambda For The Impatient.

The deadline for submissions is July 18, 2017 and the contest is open to:

  • Individuals, and teams of individuals, who have reached the age of majority in their eligible jurisdiction of residence at the time of entry
  • Organizations (employ 50 or fewer people) - must have been duly organized or incorporated and validly exist in an eligible area at the time of entry
  • Large Organizations (employ more than 50 people) in eligible areas will be eligible for a non-cash recognition prize 

The usual territorial restrictions apply, so that residents of  Brazil, Quebec, Cuba, Sudan, Iran, North Korea, Syria and any other country designated by the United States Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control are excluded and so are employees of Amazon or its affiliates, Slack, and Devpost.

You'll need to be registered with Devpost to take part.

The judging criteria are: 

  • Customer Value 
    The extent to which the bot provides value to your users. Does your bot help solve a problem or painpoint for your users?

  • Bot Quality
    Creativity and originality of the bot. Is your bot differentiated and does it solve your users' problems in a unique way?

  • Implementation of the Bot
    How well the bot was built and executed by the developer. Does the bot function as intended and does it recognize and respond to the most common phrases asked of it?

There are three cash prizes:

  • 1st  - $5,000
  • 2nd - $3,000
  • 3rd - $2,000

Winners will also benefit from a 30-minute virtual meeting with the Amazon Lex team and having their submissions featured on the AWS AI blog. In addition to "cool swag", they will also receive tickets to AWS re:Invent 2017 being held in Las Vegas in November.


The final results of the inaugural Alexa Prize, a competition for teams of university students to build Socialbots using the Alexa Skills Kit APIs, that we reported on when it began in September 2016, will also be announced at re:Invent. The team with the highest-performing socialbot will win a $500,000 prize. Additionally, a prize of $1 million will be awarded to the winning team's university if their socialbot achieves the grand challenge of conversing coherently and engagingly with humans on popular topics, such as entertainment, fashion, politics, sports, and technology, for 20 minutes. Twelve teams sponsored by Amazon and a further six unsponsored teams engaged in this challenge and the finalists will be announced in August.

More Information

AWS Chatbot Challenge

AWS Chatbot Challenge on Devpost

Amazon Lex


Related Articles

Amazon Lets Us All Use Lex To Build A Bot

AWS Lambda For The Impatient Part 1

Alexa Prize For Conversational AI

Chatbots Explored

The State Of Voice As UI

New Amazon Alexa Skills Contest



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Last Updated ( Monday, 22 May 2017 )