The LavaCon Content Strategy Conference | 23-28 October 2020 | UX: Virtual
Jonathan Foster

Jonathan FosterJonathan Foster leads the Windows & Content Intelligence writing team at Microsoft. Their work includes UX writing for Windows, defining content experiences powered by and instantiated in AI, and writing conversational interactions for products that includes the virtual agent bot on support.microsoft.com. He created the writing team for Microsoft’s digital assistant Cortana for the US and international markets, where they focused on the development of Cortana’s personality while crafting fun, as well as challenging, dialogue. They are now expanding upon this learning to create a personality catalogue for Microsoft’s bot framework, as well as building machine learning-powered chat capabilities to support those personalities.

As a writer, Jonathan started out in film and television writing screenplays and working in development. He was eventually drawn away from Hollywood by the true innovative spirit of the tech industry, starting with an interactive storytelling project that was honored by the Sundance Film Festival. He came to Microsoft nine years ago and worked at Office and Xbox before moving to Windows.

Bringing the Arts and Humanities to Tech

With the growing pervasiveness of AI, not to mention inescapable digital experiences, we need to ensure humanness in what we create and present to the world. For writers and content designers in tech, this means a transformation away from technical writing to content design that focuses on people.

Jonathan Foster will share his story of how designing Cortana’s personality led him to an epiphany around why writers from the Arts and Humanities are needed now more than ever.