May 31, 2016

The Poet Programmer

Will the future of twitter be an interaction with the soft side of a scantron form?

Writers and poets, those people who are find paychecks in the act of inventing worlds and the people in them, are being hired by the bot makers.

There are obvious implications for advertising: how is this different from a social media expert being called in to manage the responses from a corporate twitter account? In some ways, it’s almost the same, but with a more elaborate script and a robot.

For years, writers have been working in advertising and corporate communication. They build campaigns and transform companies from a collection of products into a brand with something called “voice.” (It’s telling that the rulebook for this “voice” is usually called a “brand bible.” The ascendance of organization into transhuman entity does require some suspension of disbelief and heavenly skill with metaphor.)

So, now, there’s this new job: the poet programmer. Instead of telling a single static story in half a minute, they are given as much time as they can handle to craft a storyline, and to actively pull in the public. Whether that storyline sells a product or simply drives towards some other call-to-action, it’ll be like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” on your phone.


The rise of this technology is evident in a wave of new jobs at the intersection of human and artificial intelligence. By 2025, 12.7 million new U.S. jobs will involve building robots or automation software; by 2019, more than one-third of the workforce will work side by side with such technologies, according to Forrester Data.

Chatbots are the automation of the social media intern’s job. It’s also the decentralization of the social media team’s work product, the execution of “brand voice.” With automation and decentralization, the amount of money it takes to complete a huge job goes down, but the amount of expertise needed to manage the work goes up.

More below.

The next hot job in Silicon Valley is for poets
April 7, 2016
As tech behemoths and a wave of start-ups double down on virtual assistants that can chat with human beings, writing for AI is becoming a hot job in Silicon Valley. Behind Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana are not just software engineers. Increasingly, there are poets, comedians, fiction writers, and other artistic types charged with engineering the personalities for a fast-growing crop of artificial intelligence tools.
Virtual assistants have also received a boost from major advances in subsets of artificial intelligence known as machine learning and natural language processing, or the ability for computers to understand speech. Accuracy of word recognition reached something of a tipping point in recent years, going from 80 percent in 2009 to 95 percent in 2014, said Christopher Manning, a Stanford computer science professor and natural language expert.