Wanted: Creative types to shape the personalities of virtual assistants

SAN FRANCISCO — 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, and then sends the data to a doctor. As tech behemoths and a wave of startups double down on virtual assistants that can chat with humans, writing for AI is becoming a hot job in Silicon Valley. Behind Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s…


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