Microsoft announced the acquisition of Semantic Machine which specializes in the development of conversational AI technologies. Like any other acquisition, Semantic Machine’s technology would be incorporated with Cortana as well as Azure Bot Service to enhance their ability to better converse with their human counterparts.
Microsoft also said their mission is to establish means to let computers have a conversation with humans in the most natural manner. The intended setup will also be vastly different than the command based system currently followed. Be it the Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri or even Microsoft’s own Cortana, they have been conceived from the ground up to respond to commands.
In contrast, California based company Semantic Machines said their technology will let humans engage in a meaningful conversation with the computers. All of this, Microsoft said will allow for a more meaningful and productive user experience interacting with computers.
Exactly of what form those would be like isn’t known at the moment though Semantic machine said it’s going to be far more engaging than just asking the smart digital assistant about the weather outside, setting up reminders or asking them to play songs and videos. Needless to say, these activities pretty much sums up the capabilities of the present gen voice assistants though some have even picked up the skills to books cabs or order pizzas on the user’s behalf.
Google recent highlighted the enhanced potential of its Assistant, which too stressed on the ability to engage with human operators on the phone. Such interactions too are planned to be done in such a manner so that the humans aren’t able to make out if they have been talking to a computer or a human at the other end of the phone call.
Announcing the development, Microsoft Corporate Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of AI & Research David Ku revealed in a blog post they will also be setting up a conversational AI center of excellence at Berkley.
Semantic Machines’ Conversation Engine together with Microsoft’s own advances in the field of AI and natural language processing will form the bedrock of the future capabilities of Cortana or other bots from Microsoft, Ku further added. It remains to be seen though how soon we can expect such a makeover for Cortana.