Sydney Nguyen, Brittany Roberts

Founders, Design Technologists

Slow Tech Studio

Small Talk: Artificial Presence, Real Connections

Let’s face it, small talk sucks. What if… new AI technology could help us develop the skills to change that?

Small Talk: Artificial Presence, Real Connections was initiated in 2023 at the Seattle Design Festival, and explores loneliness, artificial intelligence, and the key to social wellbeing. Practice the lost art of small talk with the most advanced AI chatbots in town. Try out curated ice-breakers designed to spark meaningful conversations with new acquaintances—human or machine—in a non-judgemental space. Share and compare your thoughts on the encounter with other attendees by participating in group discussions.

This workshop expands to Tokyo, Japan to explore generative AI from a slow tech perspective with global public engagement, especially since business velocity is a prevalent challenge in tech innovation. We’ll teach participants how to incorporate emotional literacy and community-centered design activities into their GenAI projects as a means of influencing impact on society.

About Sydney

Sydney Nguyen is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, CA. She is a UX Designer at Amazon, developing the future of inclusive shopping with conversational AI. With a background in Architecture, she provides a strategic perspective on emerging technology and physical connections grounded in critical theory. Her work aims to align technology with humanity’s best interests and to strengthen communities.

About Brittany

Brittany Roberts is currently based in Seattle, WA. She is a UX Designer at AWS, building accessible communication apps and services to enhance team collaboration. Prior to experience design, she’s worn lots of hats in the creative skill trades. Her background in Fine Art keeps her honest and pushes her to imagine new forms of technology to support human flourishing at scale.


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