AI is changing how we interact with technology. All the big names in the industry have started investing heavily in AI technology. Amazon has invested in Alexa, Google in Assistant, Apple in Siri and Microsoft in Cortana. With the recent move, Microsoft has shown their commitment to making their platforms better equipped with AI.
Microsoft has bought Semantic Machines, a conversation AI company to improve their intelligent assistant Cortana. Microsoft intends to improve the conversational functionality of Cortana, so when interacting with it, users feel like they are communicating with a human.
Semantic Machines was founded in 2014 by Dan Klein, a professor at UC Berkeley, and Larry Gillick, a former chief speech scientist at Apple. Semantic Machines will use machine learning technology to empower Cortana so it can respond to queries in a natural way and with greater accuracy.
According to David Ku, CTO at Microsoft AI & Research, “With the acquisition of Semantic Machines, we will establish a conversational AI center of excellence in Berkeley to push forward the boundaries of what is possible in language interfaces”.
Apart from Cortana, Microsoft also aims to make their Azure Bot Service more powerful and accurate so it can help developers better in using their Azure services. Microsoft Azure Bot Service is currently used by 300,000 developers around the world. With this change, they can improve the onboarding process and help developers better manage their Azure services.
Microsoft has already made Cortana sound like a human by giving it a voice. Microsoft Cortana is voiced by Jen Taylor, the same voice actress who voiced the character Cortana from Halo video game series.
Microsoft is not the only one who is working on improving their intelligent assistant software and improving the AI technology behind it. Google has also recently announced Google Duplex, a similar AI with humans like voice and conversational functionality. Google Duplex will power Google Assistant so to improve the interaction between humans and technology by making it more natural and accurate.
With Microsoft and Google both adopting AI to change how users interact with their products, it is only a matter of time until Apple and Amazon will jump on this bandwagon.