Lucas Ives

Head of Conversation Engineering
ToyTalk

Is Conversational Entertainment Ready for Prime Time?

Until fairly recently, most commercial entertainment has been consumed passively and experienced linearly. Video games have shown what is possible when you integrate interactivity and decision-making, but player interaction and experience is still somewhat limited. Now, rapid advances in speech recognition and AI technology (think Siri, Cortana and the like) have made it possible to broaden those experiences to include two-way conversation with digital and physical characters. But speech recognition technology isn't yet perfect. This presentation will provide instructive insight into what ToyTalk has learned in pioneering a new form of conversational entertainment, why art is as important as science in the crafting of these experiences, and challenges the company has had to overcome to make the characters and conversations believable.

Lucas Ives has made a career of occupying the intersection of art and technology. He spent the better part of a decade at Pixar Animation Studios in R&D and as a Lead Technical Director, building tools for storytellers working in the medium of 3D animation. For the past four years, Lucas has helped writers and animators explore the space of conversational characters and decidedly non-linear narrative. Lucas leads the Conversation Engineering team at ToyTalk, an award-winning entertainment and technology company that combines art and science to create conversation with characters.

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