Constructing Boba AI

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

An AI co-pilot refers to a synthetic intelligence-powered assistant designed
to assist customers with numerous duties, usually offering steerage, assist, and automation
in several contexts. Examples of its utility embody navigation programs,
digital assistants, and software program growth environments. We like to think about a co-pilot
as an efficient associate {that a} consumer can collaborate with to carry out a selected 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 (often known as generative ideation). We sometimes implement generative ideation
by intently collaborating with our friends, clients and subject material consultants, in order that we will
formulate and take a look at revolutionary concepts that tackle our clients’ jobs, pains and features.
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 by utilizing OpenAI’s LLM to generate concepts and reply questions
that may assist scale and speed up the artistic considering course of. For the primary prototype of
Boba, we determined to give attention to rudimentary variations of the next capabilities:

1. Analysis indicators and traits: Search the online for
articles and information that will help you reply qualitative analysis questions,

2. Inventive Matrix: The artistic matrix is a concepting technique 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. State of affairs constructing: State of affairs constructing is a strategy of
producing future-oriented tales by researching indicators of change in
enterprise, tradition, and expertise. Eventualities 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 possibly can 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 Enjoying to Win technique
framework, brainstorm “the place to play” and “the best way to win” selections
primarily based on a strategic immediate and attainable future situations. For instance you
can immediate it with:

5. Idea technology: Based mostly on a strategic immediate, reminiscent of 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 internet utility that mediates an interplay between a human
consumer and a Giant-Language Mannequin, at the moment GPT 3.5. A easy internet
front-end to an LLM simply affords the power for the consumer to converse with
the LLM. That is useful, however means the consumer must discover ways to
successfully work together the LLM. Even within the quick time that LLMs have seized
the general public curiosity, we have discovered that there’s appreciable talent 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 spread of UI components that construction the dialog. This permits a consumer
to make naive prompts which the applying can manipulate, enriching
easy requests with components that may yield a greater response from the

Boba can assist with a lot of product technique duties. We cannot
describe all of them right here, simply sufficient to offer a way of what Boba does and
to offer context for the patterns later within the article.

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

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

The above screenshot seems on the state of affairs design job. This invitations
the consumer to enter a immediate, reminiscent of “Present me the way forward for retail”.

The UI affords a lot of drop-downs along with the immediate, permitting
the consumer to counsel time-horizons and the character of the prediction. Boba
will then ask the LLM to generate situations, utilizing Templated Immediate to counterpoint the consumer’s immediate
with further components each from basic data of the state of affairs
constructing job and from the consumer’s choices within the UI.

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

The consumer can then take one among these situations and hit the discover
button, citing a brand new panel with an extra immediate to have a Contextual Dialog 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 Choose and Carry Context
to carry onto the varied components of the consumer’s interplay
with the LLM, permitting the consumer to discover in a number of instructions with out
having to fret about supplying the fitting context for every interplay.

One of many difficulties with utilizing an
LLM is that it is skilled solely on information 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 indicators that makes use of Embedded Exterior Information
to mix the LLM with common search
amenities. It takes the prompted analysis question, reminiscent of “How is the
resort business utilizing generative AI at this time?”, sends an enriched model of
that question to a search engine, retrieves the urged 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 will additionally guarantee we
present supply hyperlinks to the consumer, 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 so much about completely different patterns and approaches
to mediating a dialog between a consumer and an LLM, particularly Open AI’s
GPT3.5/4. This checklist of patterns will not be exhaustive and is restricted to the teachings
we have learnt to date 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
often called 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 the event you’ve used a Javascript templating engine, reminiscent of 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 possibly can
enter a strategic immediate, reminiscent of “Present me the way forward for funds” or perhaps a
easy immediate just like the title of an organization. The consumer interface seems like

The immediate template that powers this technology seems 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 possibly can 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 will not be meant to be an introduction to immediate
engineering, you’ll discover some methods at play right here, reminiscent of beginning
by telling the LLM to Undertake a
particularly that of a visionary futurist. This was a method we relied on
extensively in numerous components of the applying to provide extra related and
helpful completions.

As a part of our test-and-learn immediate engineering workflow, we discovered that
iterating on the immediate straight in ChatGPT affords the shortest path from
thought to experimentation and helps construct confidence in our prompts shortly.
Having mentioned that, we additionally discovered that we spent far more time on the consumer
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. After we wanted to drastically adapt the immediate primarily based
on the consumer enter, reminiscent of when the consumer clicks “Add particulars (indicators,
threats, alternatives)”, we determined to run a unique immediate template
altogether, within the curiosity of protecting our immediate templates from turning into
too advanced and exhausting to take care of.

Structured Response

Inform the LLM to reply in a structured information format

Nearly any utility you construct with LLMs will almost certainly have to parse
the output of the LLM to create some structured or semi-structured information to
additional function on on behalf of the consumer. For Boba, we wished 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 stunned by how properly 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 legitimate JSON array of state of affairs objects.
Every state of affairs object may have the next schema:
    "title": <string>,       //Have to be a whole sentence written prior to now tense
    "abstract": <string>,   //State of affairs description
    "plausibility": <string>,  //Plausibility of state of affairs
    "horizon": <string>

We had been equally stunned by the truth that it may assist pretty advanced
nested JSON schemas, even after we described the response schemas in pseudo-code.
Right here’s an instance of how we would 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 attention-grabbing facet impact of describing the JSON response schema was that we
may additionally nudge the LLM to offer extra related responses within the output. For
instance, for the Inventive Matrix, we would like 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 in a position to get the LLM to “assume” in the fitting context for every
thought (the context being the immediate, row and column):

You'll reply with a legitimate 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 route we
wished. We consider it is 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
Calling, which
gives a unique approach to obtain the objective of formatting responses. On this
method, 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
notably helpful in situations if you wish to invoke exterior instruments, reminiscent of
performing an internet 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 belongings you’ll notice when implementing a graphical
consumer interface on high of an LLM is that ready for the 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 crucial consumer
interplay sample to remember as a result of, in our expertise, a consumer can
solely wait on a spinner for thus lengthy earlier than shedding endurance. In our case, we
didn’t need the consumer 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 suggest
displaying real-time progress in the course of the execution of prompts that take extra
than a couple of seconds to finish. In our case, this meant streaming the
generations throughout the complete stack, from the LLM again to the UI in real-time.
Fortuitously, the Langchain and OpenAI APIs present the power to just do

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

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

Nevertheless, doing so provides lots 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 preserve 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} consumer is
restricted to a single-threaded context: the dialog chat window. When
designing a co-pilot expertise, we suggest considering deeply about the best way to
design UX affordances for performing actions throughout the context of a
choice, just like our pure inclination to level at one thing in actual
life within the context of an motion or description.

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

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

Relying on the character and size of the context
you want to set up for a section of dialog/interplay, implementing
Choose and Carry Context could be wherever from very simple to very troublesome. When
the context is transient and might match right into a single LLM context window (the utmost
measurement of a immediate that the LLM helps), we will implement it by way of immediate
engineering alone. For instance, in Boba, as proven above, you possibly can click on “Discover”
on an thought and have a dialog with Boba about that concept. The best way 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 Choose and Carry Context is to take action inside
the immediate by offering the context inside tag delimiters, as proven beneath. In
this case, the consumer has chosen a number of situations and desires to generate
methods for these situations (a method 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)

Nevertheless, when your context outgrows an LLM’s context window, or when you want
to offer 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 best way to do
one thing comparable in Embedded Exterior Information.

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

Contextual Dialog

Enable direct dialog with the LLM inside a context.

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

Within the instance beneath, the consumer 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 consumer has requested Boba to create a consumer journey for
the idea. The response from the LLM is formatted and rendered as Markdown:

When designing generative co-pilot experiences, we extremely suggest
supporting contextual conversations together with your utility. Ensure that to
provide examples of helpful messages the consumer can ship to your utility so
they know what sort of conversations they will interact in. Within the case of
Boba, as proven within the screenshot above, these examples are supplied as
message templates below the enter field, reminiscent of “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 value considering metaphorically
a couple of phrase by Andrei Karpathy of OpenAI: “LLMs ‘assume’ in
tokens.” What he means by this
is that GPTs are inclined to make extra reasoning errors when making an attempt to reply a
query immediately, versus if 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 sequence of reasoning earlier than an
reply, helped the LLM to purpose its approach 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 develop on the consumer’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 inner monologue that the consumer is
not uncovered to. On this case, we’d ask the LLM to assume by way of their
response and put that inside monologue right into a separate a part of the response, that
we will parse out and ignore within the outcomes we present to the consumer. A extra elaborate
description of this sample could be present in OpenAI’s GPT Greatest Practices
Information, within the
part Give GPTs time to

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

Iterative Response

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

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

Equally, we consider that the standard of a generative co-pilot
expertise is dependent upon the power of a consumer 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 consumer
  • Offering suggestions to nudge the applying in a unique route

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
understand how good the pictures will end up–so it’s a little bit of a hit and miss with
this function. To compensate for this, we determined to offer the consumer the
means to iterate on the picture immediate in order that they will refine the picture for
a given scene. The consumer would do that by merely clicking on the picture,
updating the Secure Diffusion immediate, and urgent Carried out, 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 at the moment engaged on is a function for the consumer to offer suggestions
to Boba on the standard of concepts generated, which might be a mix
of Choose and Carry Context and Iterative Response. One
method 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 method could be to offer conversational
suggestions within the type of pure language. Both approach, we want to
do that in a method that helps reinforcement studying (the concepts get
higher as you present extra suggestions). instance of this could be
Github Copilot, which demotes code options which were ignored by
the consumer in its rating of subsequent finest code options.

We consider that this is without doubt one of the most necessary, albeit
generically-framed, patterns to implementing efficient generative
experiences. The difficult half is incorporating the context of the
suggestions into subsequent responses, which can 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 information 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 (reminiscent of an API
name) or exterior reminiscence (short-term or long-term). We bumped into this
state of affairs after we had been implementing the Analysis function in Boba, which
permits customers to reply qualitative analysis questions primarily based on publicly
out there data on the internet, for instance “How is the resort 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 power to learn probably lengthy
articles that won’t match into the context window of a immediate. We additionally
wished Boba to have the ability to chat with the consumer about any related articles the
consumer finds, which required implementing a type of short-term reminiscence. Lastly,
we wished to offer the consumer with correct hyperlinks and references that had been
used to reply the consumer’s analysis query.

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

  1. Use a Google SERP API to carry out the online search primarily based on the consumer’s question
    and get the highest 10 articles (search outcomes)
  2. Learn the complete 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 the complete
    article itself).
  4. Generate an embedding of the consumer’s search question
  5. Question the vector retailer utilizing the embedding of the search question
  6. Immediate the LLM to reply the consumer’s authentic question in pure language,
    whereas prefixing the outcomes of the vector retailer question as context into the LLM

This will likely sound like lots 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 only some 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 the complete content material of the article, which can not
match inside a single immediate. So we carry out the steps described above. As you possibly can
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. Nevertheless, for bigger scale use circumstances and/or long-term reminiscence,
we suggest utilizing an exterior vector DB like Pinecone or Weaviate.

We additionally may have additional streamlined our workflow by utilizing 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, gradual and harder-to-parse outcomes. One other method to implementing
exterior instruments is to make use of Open AI’s just lately launched Perform Calling
API, which we
talked about earlier on this article.

To summarize, we mixed two distinct methods to implement Embedded Exterior Information:

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

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