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Talking to Conversational AI powered Paper Airplanes

Talking to Conversational AI powered Paper Airplanes

We’ve got AI. Who needs designers?

That’s the question that popped into my head when watching Google’s incredible LaMDA demo.

Google used a new type of neural network, called a ‘Transformer’, and fed it with data. But not just any data. They gave it transcriptions of dialog. Conversations.

What came out was quite incredible. The chatbot had a very natural-sounding chat with one of the researchers. As a rather interesting twist, it pretended to be a paper airplane! And Pluto (the dwarf planet). Yes, you read that right.

Here’s an extract of the conversation…

A picture of a paper aeroplane with an extract of a chat between an researcher and an AI program pretending to be an Aeroplane

(Image credit: Google)

With AI that good. Do we still need Conversation Design? Do we need Conversation Designers?

Yes. Because your business doesn’t need to have random conversations about Pluto or paper airplanes.

You need to have conversations that help your customers get stuff done. That engage them. That communicate your brand.

Conversation Design isn’t just about crafting prompts and defining intents in your favorite IVR, voice assistant, or chatbot platform.

Yes, Conversation Design involves the nuts and bolts of conversation:

  • Predicting and understanding what customers say
  • Responding with language that’s easy to understand
  • Managing turn-taking
  • Handling misunderstandings

But great Conversation Design also involves activities that go much deeper and wider…

  • Deciding the right steps to solve a problem
  • Curating content that will help and inform
  • Converting that content into conversational form
  • Showing empathy
  • Managing expectations (customer and business)
  • Communicating brand attributes

The role of Conversation Designers will change over time. Right now we have to teach our Conversational AI platforms almost everything. In the future, they’ll handle more of the nuts and bolts of the conversation. Just like web and mobile frameworks make it easy to build functional websites.

But smart, helpful, friendly, resourceful… even emotionally intelligent? Will AI pick up the slack there too? Not for a long time.

The age of Conversation Design, and the opportunity for Conversation Designers has many, many years to run 😁

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