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Introducing Sidekick Beta
Introducing Sidekick Beta

An AI-powered data assistant that talks to mySidewalk's data library

Jennifer Curtis avatar
Written by Jennifer Curtis
Updated over a week ago

Sidekick is in open beta and is available to current customers
at no additional cost. (Learn how to get access.)

What is Sidekick?

Sidekick is a chat-based AI assistant that helps anyone who cares about a place use data to drive community progress. It is a standalone mobile-friendly application that references only data within mySidewalk's data library to complete tasks. Because of this, Sidekick can deliver the data, visualizations, and insights you need to make impactful decisions quickly and easily, anytime or anywhere.

Navigating to Sidekick

Using a desktop or mobile browser, navigate to and log into Sidekick using your existing mySidewalk credentials. Once logged into Sidekick, you will see the conversation screen (below).

From here, you can start chatting with Sidekick right away! Simply type your request into the text box at the bottom of the screen and hit send.

It's as simple as that to get started. However, as a new generative AI tool that's currently in beta, you're more likely to have success with it by understanding what it's able to do well (this list will expand over time!) and using best practices for prompting it.

What Sidekick can do & how to prompt it

Today, Sidekick is best at a few high-impact data tasks:

  • Recommending data for topics of interest

  • Answering questions about places

  • Creating interactive maps

  • Writing data stories

We've created detailed articles about how to use Sidekick in each of these ways, and included example use cases and prompts. Go here to dive into this material. If you'd just like to get started, though, the Sidekick Prompt Library is your friend.

✋🏼 Read this before moving on

We highly encourage you to check out the materials that will help you interact with Sidekick to get the most out of this amazing tool. A successful beta will mean that two things happen simultaneously: Sidekick becomes smarter and more capable, and you, the user, learn how to prompt Sidekick to get the best results.

These resources will set you up for success:

Go explore! 🚀

A call-to-action: Improve Sidekick with your feedback

While honest, critical feedback is important to developing every new product, this is particularly true for technologies that use generative AI, like Sidekick.

Your feedback on individual messages via the thumbs up/thumbs down feature will help us quickly identify new issues and escalate existing ones. It is necessary to improving the quality of Sidekick’s responses.

Your feedback on your overall experience using Sidekick (whether within a session or in general) via the feedback form linked in the left sidebar will help inform the product roadmap and ensure the new things we build are exactly what you need.

Both methods of giving feedback will be used directly in prioritizing our development work week-by-week and will help shape our product roadmap.

How to use Sidekick responsibly

mySidewalk incorporates OpenAI technology for developing AI features and products. OpenAI's large language models (LLMs) are trained on a wide range of online content, including websites, news, books, and research papers. This content can mirror societal biases, leading to potential biases in the models themselves. OpenAI is working on reducing these risks, and mySidewalk keeps track of their efforts.

We also understand that our company, our customers, and our users must all contribute to addressing these issues. Combating harmful biases is a joint effort. To ensure Sidekick is used responsibly, we advise our customers to:

  • Become familiar with your organization's AI usage guidance, and use Sidekick accordingly. If you have questions about using Sidekick that aren't answered via published guidelines, consult the appropriate internal parties.

  • Check results produced by AI for their accuracy, suitability, and adherence to your organization’s standards. We have built-in Sidekick features including the "Show work" feature and (soon) integrations with Seek to help you do this.

  • Inform your audience when AI helps create your data presentations. As an example, you can accomplish this with a footnote like, "Map generated by Sidekick, an AI powered data assistant from mySidewalk."

  • Report any concerns about AI outputs, including errors or biased content, to mySidewalk (as detailed above).

  • Learn more about mySidewalk's guidelines for combatting bias in LLMs and our principles for ethical AI use here.

Related Resources

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