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She declines to say she favors a specific candidate.

The group, which meets every morning at Microsoft’s offices in Redmond, Wash., also brainstorms Cortana’s responses to new issues.

Across the table is August Niehaus, a writer for the team (Photo by Stuart Isett for The Washington Post) SAN FRANCISCO -- Until recently, Robyn Ewing was a writer in Hollywood, developing TV scripts and pitching pilots to film studios.

Ewing works with engineers on the software program, called Sophie, which can be downloaded to a smartphone.

The virtual nurse gently reminds users to check their medication, asks them how they are feeling or if they are in pain, and then sends the data to a real doctor.

Some members who are shaping Cortana’s personality for European and Canadian markets dial in.

(Cortana is available in Spanish, Portuguese, French, Japanese, Italian, German, limited Chinese, and British and Indian English.) When the team was preparing to launch a feature that has Cortana sifting through emails and suggesting people to meet with, members debated whether a reminder — “You said you wanted to meet with” so-and-so — sounded pushy.

Writers for medical and productivity apps make character decisions such as whether bots should be workaholics, eager beavers or self-effacing.

“You have to develop an entire backstory — even if you never use it,” Ewing said.

To field increasingly common questions about whether Cortana is a fan of Hillary Clinton’s, for instance, or Donald Trump’s, the team dug into the backstory to find an answer that felt “authentic.” The response they developed reflects Cortana’s standing as a “citizen of the Internet,” aware of both good and bad information about the candidates, said Deborah Harrison, senior writer for Cortana, and a movie review blogger on the side.

So Cortana says that all politicians are heroes and villains.

Even mundane tasks demand creative effort, as writers try to build personality quirks into the most rote activities.

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