Skip main navigation

Week 1: Let’s wrap up

This step will go back over some of the material you learned during the week.

Congratulations on making it to the end of Week 1. You have been introduced to the world of conversational interfaces and should now have a good idea of what they are, the different forms they can take, and the people who work together to create them.

You began the week by thinking about your own experience and how you would know if you’re interacting with a chatbot or machine when you’re online. This got you thinking about the characteristics of human speech versus machine synthesised speech. You then discussed these issues with your fellow learners and hopefully gained some insight through shared learning.

You heard from the experts and learned about chatbots and intelligent personal assistants (IPA), the differences between them and what they are used for. You learned that chatbots are generally text based whilst IPAs are controlled by your voice and don’t have a visual interface. You heard about the advantages of this type of interface and some of the challenges that are being overcome.

This week you met Nicky Birch, who is a Commissioning Exec in Voice and AI at the BBC, dedicated to developing voice-based interfaces. Nicky gave you some insight into her work also as the director of her own company Rosina Sound. This has hopefully given you an idea of the types of skills that are required to create conversational interfaces. You also met Kane Simms who is a voice product designer, co-founder of VUX World and host of the podcast of the same name. We also explored the prototyping process with Chief Operating Officer for labworks.io, Fiona Morgan.

You read about the different roles that might make up a conversational interface development team. We hope that this has given you some motivation to think about the skills that would best suit you if you were to pursue a career in this area.

Next week you will continue to explore related ethical considerations and look at future applications of the technology.

Have your say

Thinking back over the week and what you have learned about conversational interfaces, what is the most interesting aspect of this technology? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
This article is from the free online

Introduction to Conversational Interfaces

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education