March Expert Connects with Adam Shonkoff

This month’s Jibo Expert Connects will be with Adam Shonkoff, our Robot Character Writer. Adam is a graduate from Cornell University and has his Masters in Visual and Media Arts from Emerson College here in Boston.

During his career, Adam wrote webisodes for PBS Kids (Fizzy’s Lunch Lab), was a development writer for the Nick Digital pilot Earth to Allen, and was the head writer on OZMAT, an online media property produced by CloudKid Studio. Adam has also written and produced several video shorts, one featured on Comedy Central, as well as a number of TV pilots and feature screenplays. We’re very happy to have someone with his experience on the Jibo team, and can’t wait for our developers to meet him.

Adam will provide a background on his role at Jibo, including details about how he approaches writing for a social robot and character that must appeal to users of all ages. He will also share first-hand tips to aid you, as developers, in thinking about Jibo as a character and ideas for how you can embrace Jibo’s personality while building your own skills.

This session is scheduled for Monday, March 27 at 12pm ET. We will publish the YouTube live stream link here in the forum and send it via email on the day of the event.

We invite you to reply to this thread to post your questions for Adam in advance, and we will work to address them as part of the session.

Because we want to get to all of your questions on the topic, we ask that you send any general questions about Jibo or your Jibo account to This will allow Adam and our moderators to focus in on the topic at hand during the live stream.

See you Monday! :jibo:


See you all at 12 PM EST today. Here is the link for the live stream!


Sorry, I missed the live event, but I just caught the video.
Thanks Adam and team for offering the expert connect!

I assume that the future jibo dev libiraries will have animations, behaviors audio to help skill devs keep jibo in character.His character is by convention, if we can well absorb the style guide and advise.

I wonder there will there be also be reusable mims (samples, templates) or even subflows to that we can extend to help stay in character? I’m thinking that the end-users would also benefit from consistancy and common interaction patterns. For example, mim or subflow templates for error handling and expressing emotions - even with optional animations. Handling menus in a flow might also benefit from some common interaction pattern that we can reuse.


Thank you everyone for watching and participating in our Expert Connects livestream with Adam today! There were a couple of items that we did not get to during the event so, like last time, we wanted to provide answers to those questions here.

Q: What SSML standards will Jibo use?

A: The SSML we support does not strictly conform to W3C standard. We will support a subset of the standard ssml tags, and some that are extra and different from SSML.

Lastly as promised, here are Adam’s slides from the Expert Connects live stream:

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Thank you again for your time and participation today!


I couldn’t agree more @bmulreni, having the character readily available via mims or sub-flow templates for error handling would be best. In fact, if this expert connect focused more on error handling and Jibo’s Character; showing examples of how to manage Jibo’s character through error handling; it would have been more productive. Understanding how Jibo Inc is handling the Character as described in the documents doesn’t help developers understand how to integrate that into our skills. Error handling examples are probably the best place for Jibo Inc to begin helping developers where the Jibo Character and our skills come into direct contact. As for my dilemma of having another voice telling a story using Jibo, this expert connect only fortified the lack of direction at Jibo Inc. If Jibo is going to launch with a telepresence skill, and other people will take over Jibo, showing their face from an iPhone as with the Thanksgiving dinner Jibo commercial, then there already is a reason to introduce others speaking through Jibo. When the telepresence skill is used, will Jibo talk in the background while the actions take place? An important question to resolve would be; is Jibo going to launch with a telepresence skill as shown? If so, what’s the protocol?

We are definitely aware that the development community would like more specific guidance integrating character as part of your skills. As mentioned during Adam’s talk, and in this thread, we will be making future updates to our design guide that will provide more detail in that area.

We also know that there is a demand in the developer community for default/template material in the SDK that will be illustrative of best practices. As I commented here, following the Expert Connect with Andrew Rapo, we will be providing sample material in the SDK that we expect will be helpful and constructive for developers.