How We Name Our Personal Bots

First came Siri. Now there’s Cortana, the new digital personal assistant for Windows Phone. Experts explain why mysterious, futuristic names are all the rage.

How We Name  Our Personal Bots
[Illustration by Eboy]

Mystery is interesting

“A name that’s straightforward has only one layer. You want to allow people the pleasure of exploring it.”
Diane Prange, chief linguistics officer, Strategic Name Development


No one’s offended

“You need to have a fairly broad appeal with a name. Check in with speakers of your major market languages to make sure it doesn’t say something bad.”
Nathan Shedroff, coauthor, Make It So: Interaction Design Lessons From Science Fiction

The future is friendly

“Names should entice us into the future, but not scare us away. Like the best names for people, these names should be rooted in tradition, but also imbued with newness.”
Alex Frankel, author, Wordcraft: The Art of Turning Little Words Into Big Business