SXSW 2019

Conversational Society: Tension in the Machine Age


Without any training or without even really being aware of it, over the last decade we’ve become entirely accustomed to speaking to, and learning from machines.

Our virtual and physical worlds are pulled closer every day and although we benefit from it, it also brings tension. Nowhere is this tension felt more than in the conversation design.

The design of conversations between humans and machines is a point on a journey towards something like a knowledge singularity and to future-proof these conversations, we should be designing not just how the machine converses with us, but how we converse with them, too. Ultimately we want to ensure the machines help us becomes smarter and they don’t just become smarter themselves.

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. Learn about the craft and importance of ‘conversation design’ in artificial intelligence
  2. Understand how humans need to adapt their conversational skills to best work with machines
  3. Figure out the likely next steps towards ‘knowledge singularity’ and the flattening of the human and machine experience


  • Paige Maguire, Design Director, Fjord


Paige Maguire, Design Director, Fjord

Meta Information:

  • Event: SXSW
  • Format: Solo
  • Track: Intelligent Future
  • Track 2
  • Level: Advanced

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