Conversational AI is our topic this week as your hosts Mark Mirchandani and Priyanka Vergadia are joined by Cathy Pearl and Jessica Dene Earley-Cha. Cathy explains what conversation AI is, describing it as people teaching computers to communicate the way humans do, rather than forcing humans to communicate like computers.
Later, we talk best practices in design and development, including how a good conversation design and sample dialogues before building can create a better product. This prep work helps anticipate the ways different users could respond to the same question and how the program should react. In multi-modal programming, planning is also important. Our guests suggest starting with the spoken portions of the design and then planning visual components that would augment the experience. Working together as a team is one of the most important parts of the planning process.
We also talk best use-cases for conversation AI. Does performing this task via voice make the experience better? Does it make the task easier or more accessible? If so, that could be a great application. In the future, the conversation may be a silent communication with the help of MIT’s Alter Ego.
Cathy Pearl is head of conversation design outreach and author of the O’Reilly book, “Designing Voice User Interfaces”. She’s been creating Voice User Interfaces for 20 years and has worked on everything from programming NASA helicopter pilot simulators to a conversational app in which Esquire’s style columnist advises what to wear on a first date. She earned an MS in Computer Science from Indiana University and a BS in Cognitive Science from UC San Diego. You can find Cathy on Twitter, or check out her latest Medium article “A Conversation With My 35-year-old Chatbot”.
Jessica Dene Earley-Cha is a Developer Advocate for Actions on Google. She loves to connect with developers and explore VUI (voice user interface) to add another dimension to how users interact with technology. Jessica is part of the leadership team for @WomenInVoice. You’ll find her either spending time with her dog, collecting strawberry knick knack or biking around town. Stay up-to-date on her ventures on Twitter.
Cathy will be at Project Voice.
Mark will be on vacation soon!