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In this episode of the O’Reilly Bots Podcast, I speak with Dennis Mortensen, founder and CEO of, a personal assistant bot that handles meeting scheduling through email.

Discussion points:

  • Social considerations for personal assistants and the bots that stand in for them
  • users can call their virtual assistant either “Amy” or “Andrew.” Mortensen says users overwhelmingly choose the name of the opposite gender. (But for the most part, he says, it’s only male users who flirt with the bot.)
  • The goal: agents that carry over conversations from one channel or platform to another (like continuing an email conversation in Slack)
  • Humans in the loop: how’s 40 human “trainers” review scheduling-related data and train the response algorithm
  • How the scheduling bot attempts to guide conversations in order to improve outcomes

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