Of all the questions I get asked about conversation design, “how do I become a conversation designer?” is the most common.
There is no simple formula, unfortunately. I know conversation designers who used to be linguistics professors, professional musicians, stand-up comics, and electrical engineers. There’s no one path.
That being said, there are things you can do to pursue this as a career. I’ll outline a variety of strategies, and provide resources and suggestions.
First, a bit about my own journey. I’ve been interested in talking to computers since I was a kid, which I wrote about recently in my article A Conversation with my 35-year-old chatbot. But it was not until I was in my late 20s that I found out it could be a career. I got a job at Nuance Communications, one of the very first companies to bring speech recognition mainstream. It did this via automated phone systems (IVRs) that allowed callers to speak to a computer, rather than pushing buttons. …
I’ve seen many articles and blog posts on how to start a podcast, how to run a podcast, and how to host (there’s even a podcast ABOUT starting a podcast), but I rarely see advice on how to be a good podcast GUEST.
Here are some tips on making the most of the experience.
So, you’ve been asked to be on a podcast! Woo hoo! Now what?
First off: you do not have to say yes. Podcasts take time and energy, and you presumably are not being paid. On the other hand, they can be a lot of fun, and also a great way to expose more people to what you work on. …
Originally published at scifiinterfaces.com.
In 8th grade, I went on our class trip to Washington D.C. The hotel we were staying at had kids from all over the country, and one night they held a dance. I had changed into sweats and a t-shirt and was dancing away with my friends when a boy walked up behind me, tapped me on the shoulder, and said, “Fairy!”
When I turned around and the boy realized I was a girl, he got a confused look on his face, mumbled something and walked off. I was left feeling angry and hurt.
Humans have a strong pull to identify gender not just in people, but in robots, animals, and even smart speakers. (Whether that is wrong or right is another matter that I don’t address here, but many people are uncomfortable when gender is ambiguous.) …