September 6, 2018

Real wisdom from an artificial intelligence

A user asked Google Assistant if she can pass the Turing Test, and posted her response to Reddit. Many of the comments fell under the sentiment that repeating someone else’s words isn’t true intelligence. “They all say exactly this, it’s programmed, hardly clever.” “TIL Mark Twain is artificial.” “Program gives out a hardcoded response to a specific input. That isn’t interesting at all.” Like Alexa and Siri, there’s an entire team of creatives behind Assistant’s personality who carefully craft her dialogue. Read more

September 3, 2018

The tension with personality

PullString CEO Oren Jacob gave an excellent talk on Storytelling in the Age of Conversational Interfaces at Google I/O 2017. Drawing from his experience at Pixar, he outlined his foundations of design in computer conversation. Part of this craft comes from traditional screenwriting, stage writing, poetry, prose, and the art of creating character, story, and dialog—the linear, narrative arts. And the other part comes from gaming, web and mobile design, and the art of creating engagement and retention—the interactive arts. Read more

August 23, 2018

Microsoft's obsession with teenage chatbots

Zo, XiaoIce, Rinna, and Ruuh are social chatbots developed by Microsoft, targeted at 18- to 24-year-olds in the US, China, Japan, and India respectively. All four chatbots are built on the same technology stack, and all four chatbots use personas modeled after teenage girls. In the US, Zo has chatted with more than 100,000 people, and holds Microsoft’s record for longest continual chatbot conversation: 1,229 turns, lasting 9 hours and 53 minutes. Read more

August 6, 2018


Trim is a virtual assistant that scans recent transactions to find and cancel unwanted subscriptions. Trim users saved over one million dollars last month, many of whom signed up for a free 30-day trial membership for credit monitoring or personal fitness, and simply forgot to cancel. In addition to canceling recurring charges, Trim contacts cable and internet service providers to negotiate discounts. And they’re good at it, too. I signed up for Time Warner Cable in 2010 and paid $35 for 100 Mbps internet through 2017. Read more

July 31, 2018

AI in customer experience

From Alexa to Intercom, people are increasingly aware of having AI-enabled interactions. They’re ready for bots and voice assistants to act more human, but might not be ready for them to look more human. Capgemini Consulting published an AI in CX survey of 10,000 people across 10 countries, identifying how comfortable they are interacting with AI: 73% are aware of having interactions enabled by AI. 62% want human-like voice and intellect. Read more

2018 Brian Rose