Next generation of virtual assistants will be the work of poets as well as coders

Until recently, Robyn Ewing was a writer in Hollywood, developing TV scripts and pitching pilots to film studios. Now she’s applying her creative talents towards building the personality of a different type of character – a virtual assistant, animated by artifical intelligence (AI), 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, and sends 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…


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