Until recently Robyn Ewing was a writer in Hollywood developing TV scripts and pitching pilots to film studios.Now she is applying her creative talents toward building the personality of a different type of character – a virtual assistant animated by artificial intelligence that interacts with sick patients.
Ewing works with engineers on the software program called Sophie which can be downloaded to a smartphone.
The virtual nurse gently reminds users to check their medication – asks them how they are feeling or if they are in pain – then sends the data to a real doctor.
As tech behemoths and a wave of start-ups double down on virtual assistants that can chat with human beings – writing for AI is becoming a hot job in Silicon Valley.Behind Apple’s Siri – Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana are not just software engineers.
Increasingly there are poets comedians fiction-writers and other artistic types charged with engineering the personalities for a fast-growing crop of artificial intelligence tools.
‘Maybe this will help pay back all the student loans’ joked Ewing – who has master’s degrees from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and film school.
Unlike the fictional characters that Ewing developed in Hollywood – who are put through adventures – personal trials and plot twists – most virtual assistants today are designed to perform largely prosaic tasks – such as reading through email – sending meeting reminders or turning off the lights as you shout across the room.
But a new crop of virtual assistant start-ups – whose products will soon flood the market – have in mind more ambitious bots that can interact seamlessly with human beings.
Because this wave of technology is distinguished by the ability to chat writers for AI must focus on making the conversation feel natural.
(ed:..i could do that..(my ramblings here (in op-ed section) are if nothing else conversational in nature..and that is what i try for..for everything i write to be suited for reading aloud..(that angle in part comes from writing for radio/the ear..)
..and poets would be well-advised to pitch..eh..?..)