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

July 25, 2018

Lil Miquela

Miquela Sousa or @lilmiquela has 1.3 million followers on Instagram, 25 thousand monthly listeners on Spotify, cover stories in Highsnobiety and Wonderland Magazine, and collaborations with Prada, Supreme, Diesel, and Moncler. She identifies as a 19-year-old robot, but she’s as real as any social media influencer. In Wired, influencer marketing agency cofounder Adam Rivietz argued, “Virtual influencers aren’t trying on a clothing brand. They can’t tell you, ‘This shirt is softer than another, and that’s one of the reasons you should buy it. Read more

July 18, 2018


Microsoft designed its Tay chatbot to learn from and converse with millennials on Twitter, GroupMe, and Kik. “The more you chat with Tay, the smarter she gets. So the experience can be more personalized for you.” Within hours of coming online, Tay became a racist, misogynist Trump supporter. Created with the persona of a 19-year-old American girl, Tay’s responses were learned through conversations she had with real people. And sometimes real people come together to hijack efforts to crowdsource data. Read more

July 16, 2018

White v. Samsung Electronics America, Inc.

To promote the reliability of its consumer electronics, Samsung ran a series of ads in 1988 each depicting a 20-year prediction and a Samsung product: Shock TV host Morton Downey Jr. with the caption “Presidential candidate. 2008 A.D.” to sell TVs. A ribeye steak with the caption “Revealed to be health food. 2010 A.D.” to sell microwaves. And a robot hostess with the caption “Longest-running game show. 2012 A.D.” to sell VCRs. Read more

July 13, 2018

Predictive analytics

An article in The New York Times Magazine included the story of a man who walked into a Minneapolis Target store and demanded to see the manager. He was furious at Target for mailing an ad booklet to his teenage daughter. “My daughter got this in the mail! She’s still in high school, and you’re sending her coupons for baby clothes and cribs? Are you trying to encourage her to get pregnant? Read more

2018 Brian Rose