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What Did We Get Ourselves Into?

A history of designing Cortana’s personality

Jonathan Foster
Jan 4, 2018 · 5 min read

Authoring is required, not because the algorithms aren’t brilliant, but because language is so brilliantly subtle.



Over three years later, we continue to endow her with make-believe feelings, opinions, challenges, likes and dislikes, even sensitivities and hopes.



It requires us to slow down and think through the impact we might have on culture, perspectives around personal privacy, habits of human interaction and social propriety, excluded or marginalized groups, and an individual’s emotional states. And, children.



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Microsoft Design

Putting technology on a more human path, one design story at a time.

Jonathan Foster

Written by

I'm at Microsoft leading the Windows and Content Intelligence UX writing team. We make sure the best verbal design is in our products and UX. (views are my own)

Microsoft Design

Putting technology on a more human path, one design story at a time.