Constructing Boba AI


Boba is an experimental AI co-pilot for product technique & generative ideation,
designed to enhance the inventive ideation course of. It’s an LLM-powered
utility that we’re constructing to find out about:

An AI co-pilot refers to a man-made intelligence-powered assistant designed
to assist customers with varied duties, usually offering steerage, help, and automation
in several contexts. Examples of its utility embody navigation methods,
digital assistants, and software program growth environments. We like to consider a co-pilot
as an efficient associate {that a} person can collaborate with to carry out a particular area
of duties.

Boba as an AI co-pilot is designed to enhance the early levels of technique ideation and
idea technology, which rely closely on fast cycles of divergent
considering (also called generative ideation). We usually implement generative ideation
by intently collaborating with our friends, prospects and material consultants, in order that we are able to
formulate and check progressive concepts that handle our prospects’ jobs, pains and positive aspects.
This begs the query, what if AI may additionally take part in the identical course of? What if we
may generate and consider extra and higher concepts, sooner in partnership with AI? Boba begins to
allow this through the use of OpenAI’s LLM to generate concepts and reply questions
that may assist scale and speed up the inventive considering course of. For the primary prototype of
Boba, we determined to give attention to rudimentary variations of the next capabilities:

1. Analysis alerts and developments: Search the net for
articles and information that will help you reply qualitative analysis questions,

2. Artistic Matrix: The inventive matrix is a concepting methodology for
sparking new concepts on the intersections of distinct classes or
dimensions. This entails stating a strategic immediate, usually as a “How may
we” query, after which answering that query for every
mixture/permutation of concepts on the intersection of every dimension. For

3. Situation constructing: Situation constructing is a technique of
producing future-oriented tales by researching alerts of change in
enterprise, tradition, and know-how. Situations are used to socialize learnings
in a contextualized narrative, encourage divergent product considering, conduct
resilience/desirability testing, and/or inform strategic planning. For
instance, you’ll be able to immediate Boba with the next and get a set of future
situations primarily based on completely different time horizons and ranges of optimism and

4. Technique ideation: Utilizing the Taking part in to Win technique
framework, brainstorm “the place to play” and “the way to win” selections
primarily based on a strategic immediate and attainable future situations. For instance you
can immediate it with:

5. Idea technology: Primarily based on a strategic immediate, comparable to a “how may we” query, generate
a number of product or function ideas, which embody worth proposition pitches and hypotheses to check.

6. Storyboarding: Generate visible storyboards primarily based on a easy
immediate or detailed narrative primarily based on present or future state situations. The
key options are:

Utilizing Boba

Boba is an online utility that mediates an interplay between a human
person and a Giant-Language Mannequin, presently GPT 3.5. A easy internet
front-end to an LLM simply provides the flexibility for the person to converse with
the LLM. That is useful, however means the person must discover ways to
successfully work together the LLM. Even within the quick time that LLMs have seized
the general public curiosity, we have realized that there’s appreciable ability to
setting up the prompts to the LLM to get a helpful reply, leading to
the notion of a “Immediate Engineer”. A co-pilot utility like Boba provides
a variety of UI components that construction the dialog. This enables a person
to make naive prompts which the applying can manipulate, enriching
easy requests with components that may yield a greater response from the

Boba may also help with various product technique duties. We cannot
describe all of them right here, simply sufficient to offer a way of what Boba does and
to supply context for the patterns later within the article.

When a person navigates to the Boba utility, they see an preliminary
display screen much like this

The left panel lists the varied product technique duties that Boba
helps. Clicking on considered one of these adjustments the primary panel to the UI for
that process. For the remainder of the screenshots, we’ll ignore that process panel
on the left.

The above screenshot appears on the state of affairs design process. This invitations
the person to enter a immediate, comparable to “Present me the way forward for retail”.

The UI provides various drop-downs along with the immediate, permitting
the person to recommend time-horizons and the character of the prediction. Boba
will then ask the LLM to generate situations, utilizing Templated Prompt to counterpoint the person’s immediate
with further components each from common information of the state of affairs
constructing process and from the person’s alternatives within the UI.

Boba receives a Structured Response from the LLM and shows the
consequence as set of UI components for every state of affairs.

The person can then take considered one of these situations and hit the discover
button, citing a brand new panel with an extra immediate to have a Contextual Conversation with Boba.

Boba takes this immediate and enriches it to give attention to the context of the
chosen state of affairs earlier than sending it to the LLM.

Boba makes use of Select and Carry Context
to carry onto the varied components of the person’s interplay
with the LLM, permitting the person to discover in a number of instructions with out
having to fret about supplying the best context for every interplay.

One of many difficulties with utilizing an
LLM is that it is skilled solely on knowledge as much as some level prior to now, making
them ineffective for working with up-to-date data. Boba has a
function referred to as analysis alerts that makes use of Embedded External Knowledge
to mix the LLM with common search
services. It takes the prompted analysis question, comparable to “How is the
lodge business utilizing generative AI at this time?”, sends an enriched model of
that question to a search engine, retrieves the recommended articles, sends
every article to the LLM to summarize.

That is an instance of how a co-pilot utility can deal with
interactions that contain actions that an LLM alone is not appropriate for. Not
simply does this present up-to-date data, we are able to additionally guarantee we
present supply hyperlinks to the person, and people hyperlinks will not be hallucinations
(so long as the search engine is not partaking of the unsuitable mushrooms).

Some patterns for constructing generative co-pilot purposes

In constructing Boba, we learnt quite a bit about completely different patterns and approaches
to mediating a dialog between a person and an LLM, particularly Open AI’s
GPT3.5/4. This listing of patterns shouldn’t be exhaustive and is restricted to the teachings
we have learnt thus far whereas constructing Boba.

Templated Immediate

Use a textual content template to counterpoint a immediate with context and construction

The primary and easiest sample is utilizing a string templates for the prompts, additionally
generally known as chaining. We use Langchain, a library that gives a normal
interface for chains and end-to-end chains for widespread purposes out of
the field. In case you’ve used a Javascript templating engine, comparable to Nunjucks,
EJS or Handlebars earlier than, Langchain gives simply that, however is designed particularly for
widespread immediate engineering workflows, together with options for perform enter variables,
few-shot immediate templates, immediate validation, and extra subtle composable chains of prompts.

For instance, to brainstorm potential future situations in Boba, you’ll be able to
enter a strategic immediate, comparable to “Present me the way forward for funds” or perhaps a
easy immediate just like the title of an organization. The person interface appears like

The immediate template that powers this technology appears one thing like

You're a visionary futurist. Given a strategic immediate, you'll create
{num_scenarios} futuristic, hypothetical situations that occur
{time_horizon} from now. Every state of affairs should be a {optimism} model of the
future. Every state of affairs should be {realism}.

Strategic immediate: {strategic_prompt}

As you’ll be able to think about, the LLM’s response will solely be nearly as good because the immediate
itself, so that is the place the necessity for good immediate engineering is available in.
Whereas this text shouldn’t be meant to be an introduction to immediate
engineering, you’ll discover some strategies at play right here, comparable to beginning
by telling the LLM to Adopt a
particularly that of a visionary futurist. This was a way we relied on
extensively in varied components of the applying to supply extra related and
helpful completions.

As a part of our test-and-learn immediate engineering workflow, we discovered that
iterating on the immediate instantly in ChatGPT provides the shortest path from
thought to experimentation and helps construct confidence in our prompts rapidly.
Having stated that, we additionally discovered that we spent far more time on the person
interface (about 80%) than the AI itself (about 20%), particularly in
engineering the prompts.

We additionally saved our immediate templates so simple as attainable, devoid of
conditional statements. Once we wanted to drastically adapt the immediate primarily based
on the person enter, comparable to when the person clicks “Add particulars (alerts,
threats, alternatives)”, we determined to run a special immediate template
altogether, within the curiosity of preserving our immediate templates from turning into
too advanced and laborious to keep up.

Structured Response

Inform the LLM to reply in a structured knowledge format

Virtually any utility you construct with LLMs will probably have to parse
the output of the LLM to create some structured or semi-structured knowledge to
additional function on on behalf of the person. For Boba, we needed to work with
JSON as a lot as attainable, so we tried many alternative variations of getting
GPT to return well-formed JSON. We had been fairly shocked by how effectively and
persistently GPT returns well-formed JSON primarily based on the directions in our
prompts. For instance, right here’s what the state of affairs technology response
directions may appear to be:

You'll reply with solely a sound JSON array of state of affairs objects.
Every state of affairs object could have the next schema:
    "title": <string>,       //Have to be an entire sentence written prior to now tense
    "abstract": <string>,   //Situation description
    "plausibility": <string>,  //Plausibility of state of affairs
    "horizon": <string>

We had been equally shocked by the truth that it may help pretty advanced
nested JSON schemas, even once we described the response schemas in pseudo-code.
Right here’s an instance of how we’d describe a nested response for technique

You'll reply in JSON format containing two keys, "questions" and "methods", with the respective schemas beneath:
    "questions": [<list of question objects, with each containing the following keys:>]
      "query": <string>,           
      "reply": <string>             
    "methods": [<list of strategy objects, with each containing the following keys:>]
      "title": <string>,               
      "abstract": <string>,             
      "problem_diagnosis": <string>, 
      "winning_aspiration": <string>,   
      "where_to_play": <string>,        
      "how_to_win": <string>,           
      "assumptions": <string>          

An fascinating aspect impact of describing the JSON response schema was that we
may additionally nudge the LLM to supply extra related responses within the output. For
instance, for the Artistic Matrix, we wish the LLM to consider many alternative
dimensions (the immediate, the row, the columns, and every concept that responds to the
immediate on the intersection of every row and column):

By offering a few-shot immediate that features a particular instance of the output
schema, we had been capable of get the LLM to “assume” in the best context for every
thought (the context being the immediate, row and column):

You'll reply with a sound JSON array, by row by column by thought. For instance:

If Rows = "row 0, row 1" and Columns = "column 0, column 1" then you'll reply
with the next:

    "row": "row 0",
    "columns": [
        "column": "column 0",
        "ideas": [
            "title": "Idea 0 title for prompt and row 0 and column 0",
            "description": "idea 0 for prompt and row 0 and column 0"
        "column": "column 1",
        "concepts": [
            "title": "Idea 0 title for prompt and row 0 and column 1",
            "description": "idea 0 for prompt and row 0 and column 1"
    "row": "row 1",
    "columns": [
        "column": "column 0",
        "ideas": [
            "title": "Idea 0 title for prompt and row 1 and column 0",
            "description": "idea 0 for prompt and row 1 and column 0"
        "column": "column 1",
        "concepts": [
            "title": "Idea 0 title for prompt and row 1 and column 1",
            "description": "idea 0 for prompt and row 1 and column 1"

We may have alternatively described the schema extra succinctly and
usually, however by being extra elaborate and particular in our instance, we
efficiently nudged the standard of the LLM’s response within the course we
needed. We imagine it’s because LLMs “assume” in tokens, and outputting (ie
repeating) the row and column values earlier than outputting the concepts gives extra
correct context for the concepts being generated.

On the time of this writing, OpenAI has launched a brand new function referred to as
, which
gives a special approach to obtain the aim of formatting responses. On this
strategy, a developer can describe callable perform signatures and their
respective schemas as JSON, and have the LLM return a perform name with the
respective parameters offered in JSON that conforms to that schema. That is
significantly helpful in situations whenever you wish to invoke exterior instruments, comparable to
performing an online search or calling an API in response to a immediate. Langchain
additionally gives comparable performance, however I think about they may quickly present native
integration between their exterior instruments API and the OpenAI perform calling

Actual-Time Progress

Stream the response to the UI so customers can monitor progress

One of many first few stuff you’ll understand when implementing a graphical
person interface on high of an LLM is that ready for your complete response to
full takes too lengthy. We don’t discover this as a lot with ChatGPT as a result of
it streams the response character by character. This is a vital person
interplay sample to remember as a result of, in our expertise, a person can
solely wait on a spinner for thus lengthy earlier than dropping endurance. In our case, we
didn’t need the person to attend various seconds earlier than they began
seeing a response, even when it was a partial one.

Therefore, when implementing a co-pilot expertise, we extremely advocate
displaying real-time progress in the course of the execution of prompts that take extra
than just a few seconds to finish. In our case, this meant streaming the
generations throughout the total stack, from the LLM again to the UI in real-time.
Luckily, the Langchain and OpenAI APIs present the flexibility to do exactly

const chat = new ChatOpenAI({
  temperature: 1,
  modelName: 'gpt-3.5-turbo',
  streaming: true,
  callbackManager: onTokenStream ?
      async handleLLMNewToken(token) {
    }) : undefined

This allowed us to supply the real-time progress wanted to create a smoother
expertise for the person, together with the flexibility to cease a technology
mid-completion if the concepts being generated didn’t match the person’s

Nonetheless, doing so provides a number of further complexity to your utility
logic, particularly on the view and controller. Within the case of Boba, we additionally had
to carry out best-effort parsing of JSON and keep temporal state in the course of the
execution of an LLM name. On the time of penning this, some new and promising
libraries are popping out that make this simpler for internet builders. For instance,
the Vercel AI SDK is a library for constructing
edge-ready AI-powered streaming textual content and chat UIs.

Choose and Carry Context

Seize and add related context data to subsequent motion

One of many greatest limitations of a chat interface is {that a} person is
restricted to a single-threaded context: the dialog chat window. When
designing a co-pilot expertise, we advocate considering deeply about the way to
design UX affordances for performing actions inside the context of a
choice, much like our pure inclination to level at one thing in actual
life within the context of an motion or description.

Select and Carry Context permits the person to slender or broaden the scope of
interplay to carry out subsequent duties – also called the duty context. That is usually
achieved by deciding on a number of components within the person interface after which performing an motion on them.
Within the case of Boba, for instance, we use this sample to permit the person to have
a narrower, targeted dialog about an thought by deciding on it (eg a state of affairs, technique or
prototype idea), in addition to to pick out and generate variations of a
idea. First, the person selects an thought (both explicitly with a checkbox or implicitly by clicking a hyperlink):

Then, when the person performs an motion on the choice, the chosen merchandise(s) are carried over as context into the brand new process,
for instance as state of affairs subprompts for technique technology when the person clicks “Brainstorm methods and questions for this state of affairs”,
or as context for a pure language dialog when the person clicks Discover:

Relying on the character and size of the context
you want to set up for a phase of dialog/interplay, implementing
Select and Carry Context might be wherever from very simple to very troublesome. When
the context is transient and may match right into a single LLM context window (the utmost
measurement of a immediate that the LLM helps), we are able to implement it by means of immediate
engineering alone. For instance, in Boba, as proven above, you’ll be able to click on “Discover”
on an thought and have a dialog with Boba about that concept. The way in which we
implement this within the backend is to create a multi-message chat

const chatPrompt = ChatPromptTemplate.fromPromptMessages([
const formattedPrompt = await chatPrompt.formatPromptValue({
  enter: enter

One other strategy of implementing Select and Carry Context is to take action inside
the immediate by offering the context inside tag delimiters, as proven beneath. In
this case, the person has chosen a number of situations and desires to generate
methods for these situations (a way usually utilized in state of affairs constructing and
stress testing of concepts). The context we wish to carry into the technique
technology is assortment of chosen situations:

Your questions and techniques should be particular to realizing the next
potential future situations (if any)

Nonetheless, when your context outgrows an LLM’s context window, or in the event you want
to supply a extra subtle chain of previous interactions, you could have to
resort to utilizing exterior short-term reminiscence, which generally entails utilizing a
vector retailer (in-memory or exterior). We’ll give an instance of the way to do
one thing comparable in Embedded External Knowledge.

If you wish to be taught extra concerning the efficient use of choice and
context in generative purposes, we extremely advocate a chat given by
Linus Lee, of Notion, on the LLMs in Manufacturing convention: “Generative Experiences Beyond Chat”.

Contextual Dialog

Permit direct dialog with the LLM inside a context.

It is a particular case of Select and Carry Context.
Whereas we needed Boba to interrupt out of the chat window interplay mannequin
as a lot as attainable, we discovered that it’s nonetheless very helpful to supply the
person a “fallback” channel to converse instantly with the LLM. This enables us
to supply a conversational expertise for interactions we don’t help in
the UI, and help circumstances when having a textual pure language
dialog does take advantage of sense for the person.

Within the instance beneath, the person is chatting with Boba a couple of idea for
personalised spotlight reels offered by Rogers Sportsnet. The entire
context is talked about as a chat message (“On this idea, Uncover a world of
sports activities you like…”), and the person has requested Boba to create a person journey for
the idea. The response from the LLM is formatted and rendered as Markdown:

When designing generative co-pilot experiences, we extremely advocate
supporting contextual conversations together with your utility. Ensure to
provide examples of helpful messages the person can ship to your utility so
they know what sort of conversations they’ll interact in. Within the case of
Boba, as proven within the screenshot above, these examples are provided as
message templates underneath the enter field, comparable to “Are you able to be extra

Out-Loud Considering

Inform LLM to generate intermediate outcomes whereas answering

Whereas LLMs don’t truly “assume”, it’s price considering metaphorically
a couple of phrase by Andrei Karpathy of OpenAI: “LLMs ‘think’ in
What he means by this
is that GPTs are inclined to make extra reasoning errors when making an attempt to reply a
query instantly, versus whenever you give them extra time (i.e. extra tokens)
to “assume”. In constructing Boba, we discovered that utilizing Chain of Thought (CoT)
prompting, or extra particularly, asking for a series of reasoning earlier than an
reply, helped the LLM to motive its method towards higher-quality and extra
related responses.

In some components of Boba, like technique and idea technology, we ask the
LLM to generate a set of questions that broaden on the person’s enter immediate
earlier than producing the concepts (methods and ideas on this case).

Whereas we show the questions generated by the LLM, an equally efficient
variant of this sample is to implement an inside monologue that the person is
not uncovered to. On this case, we’d ask the LLM to assume by means of their
response and put that inside monologue right into a separate a part of the response, that
we are able to parse out and ignore within the outcomes we present to the person. A extra elaborate
description of this sample might be present in OpenAI’s GPT Best Practices
, within the
part Give GPTs time to

As a person expertise sample for generative purposes, we discovered it useful
to share the reasoning course of with the person, wherever applicable, in order that the
person has further context to iterate on the subsequent motion or immediate. For
instance, in Boba, understanding the sorts of questions that Boba considered offers the
person extra concepts about divergent areas to discover, or to not discover. It additionally
permits the person to ask Boba to exclude sure courses of concepts within the subsequent
iteration. In case you do go down this path, we advocate making a UI affordance
for hiding a monologue or chain of thought, comparable to Boba’s function to toggle
examples proven above.

Iterative Response

Present affordances for the person to have a back-and-forth
interplay with the co-pilot

LLMs are certain to both misunderstand the person’s intent or just
generate responses that don’t meet the person’s expectations. Therefore, so is
your generative utility. One of the highly effective capabilities that
distinguishes ChatGPT from conventional chatbots is the flexibility to flexibly
iterate on and refine the course of the dialog, and therefore enhance
the standard and relevance of the responses generated.

Equally, we imagine that the standard of a generative co-pilot
expertise will depend on the flexibility of a person to have a fluid back-and-forth
interplay with the co-pilot. That is what we name the Iterate on Response
sample. This may contain a number of approaches:

  • Correcting the unique enter offered to the applying/LLM
  • Refining part of the co-pilot’s response to the person
  • Offering suggestions to nudge the applying in a special course

One instance of the place we’ve applied Iterative Response
Boba is in Storyboarding. Given a immediate (both transient or elaborate), Boba
can generate a visible storyboard, which incorporates a number of scenes, with every
scene having a story script and a picture generated with Secure
Diffusion. For instance, beneath is a partial storyboard describing the expertise of a
“Resort of the Future”:

Since Boba makes use of the LLM to generate the Secure Diffusion immediate, we don’t
know the way good the photographs will end up–so it’s a little bit of a hit and miss with
this function. To compensate for this, we determined to supply the person the
capability to iterate on the picture immediate in order that they’ll refine the picture for
a given scene. The person would do that by merely clicking on the picture,
updating the Secure Diffusion immediate, and urgent Performed, upon which Boba
would generate a brand new picture with the up to date immediate, whereas preserving the
remainder of the storyboard:

One other instance Iterative Response that we
are presently engaged on is a function for the person to supply suggestions
to Boba on the standard of concepts generated, which might be a mix
of Select and Carry Context and Iterative Response. One
strategy could be to offer a thumbs up or thumbs down on an thought, and
letting Boba incorporate that suggestions into a brand new or subsequent set of
suggestions. One other strategy could be to supply conversational
suggestions within the type of pure language. Both method, we wish to
do that in a method that helps reinforcement studying (the concepts get
higher as you present extra suggestions). An excellent instance of this is able to be
Github Copilot, which demotes code recommendations which have been ignored by
the person in its rating of subsequent greatest code recommendations.

We imagine that this is without doubt one of the most essential, albeit
generically-framed, patterns to implementing efficient generative
experiences. The difficult half is incorporating the context of the
suggestions into subsequent responses, which is able to usually require implementing
short-term or long-term reminiscence in your utility due to the restricted
measurement of context home windows.

Embedded Exterior Information

Mix LLM with different data sources to entry knowledge past
the LLM’s coaching set

As alluded to earlier on this article, oftentimes your generative
purposes will want the LLM to include exterior instruments (comparable to an API
name) or exterior reminiscence (short-term or long-term). We bumped into this
state of affairs once we had been implementing the Analysis function in Boba, which
permits customers to reply qualitative analysis questions primarily based on publicly
obtainable data on the net, for instance “How is the lodge business
utilizing generative AI at this time?”:

To implement this, we needed to “equip” the LLM with Google as an exterior
internet search device and provides the LLM the flexibility to learn doubtlessly lengthy
articles that will not match into the context window of a immediate. We additionally
needed Boba to have the ability to chat with the person about any related articles the
person finds, which required implementing a type of short-term reminiscence. Lastly,
we needed to supply the person with correct hyperlinks and references that had been
used to reply the person’s analysis query.

The way in which we applied this in Boba is as follows:

  1. Use a Google SERP API to carry out the net search primarily based on the person’s question
    and get the highest 10 articles (search outcomes)
  2. Learn the total content material of every article utilizing the Extract API
  3. Save the content material of every article in short-term reminiscence, particularly an
    in-memory vector retailer. The embeddings for the vector retailer are generated utilizing
    the OpenAI API, and primarily based on chunks of every article (versus embedding your complete
    article itself).
  4. Generate an embedding of the person’s search question
  5. Question the vector retailer utilizing the embedding of the search question
  6. Immediate the LLM to reply the person’s authentic question in pure language,
    whereas prefixing the outcomes of the vector retailer question as context into the LLM

This will sound like a number of steps, however that is the place utilizing a device like
Langchain can pace up your course of. Particularly, Langchain has an
end-to-end chain referred to as VectorDBQAChain, and utilizing that to carry out the
question-answering took just a few traces of code in Boba:

const researchArticle = async (article, immediate) => {
  const mannequin = new OpenAI({});
  const textual content = article.textual content;
  const textSplitter = new RecursiveCharacterTextSplitter({ chunkSize: 1000 });
  const docs = await textSplitter.createDocuments([text]);
  const vectorStore = await HNSWLib.fromDocuments(docs, new OpenAIEmbeddings());
  const chain = VectorDBQAChain.fromLLM(mannequin, vectorStore);
  const res = await{
    input_documents: docs,
    question: immediate + ". Be detailed in your response.",
  return { research_answer: res.textual content };

The article textual content comprises your complete content material of the article, which can not
match inside a single immediate. So we carry out the steps described above. As you’ll be able to
see, we used an in-memory vector retailer referred to as HNSWLib (Hierarchical Navigable
Small World). HNSW graphs are among the many top-performing indexes for vector
similarity search. Nonetheless, for bigger scale use circumstances and/or long-term reminiscence,
we advocate utilizing an exterior vector DB like Pinecone or Weaviate.

We additionally may have additional streamlined our workflow through the use of Langchain’s
exterior instruments API to carry out the Google search, however we determined towards it
as a result of it offloaded an excessive amount of choice making to Langchain, and we had been getting
combined, sluggish and harder-to-parse outcomes. One other strategy to implementing
exterior instruments is to make use of Open AI’s just lately launched Function Calling
, which we
talked about earlier on this article.

To summarize, we mixed two distinct strategies to implement Embedded External Knowledge:

  1. Use Exterior Software: Search and skim articles utilizing Google SERP and Extract
  2. Use Exterior Reminiscence: Quick-term reminiscence utilizing an in-memory vector retailer


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