Microsoft announces a breakthrough that can allow people to have a natural conversation with chatbots

Microsoft today that it has created the first technological breakthrough that can allow people to have a natural conversation with chatbots. Many existing chatbots allow you to have a conversation with them, but you need to be clear, simple and straightforward so that the chatbot can understand what you intended to say. Microsoft’s new breakthrough will allow you to speak to a chatbot like how you might speak when talking on the phone to a friend.

Microsoft has implemented this technology into XiaoIce, Microsoft’s chatbot that has more than 200 million users in Asia. Microsoft also mentioned that they are working to apply the same breakthroughs to other chatbots including Zo in the United States.

Li Zhou, engineer lead for XiaoIce said the new update, which Microsoft calls “full duplex voice sense,” also expands XiaoIce’s ability to predict what the person she is talking with will say next. That helps her make decisions about both how and when to respond to someone who is chatting with her, a skill set that is very natural to people but not yet common in chatbots.

This technology reduces the lag time that can sometimes make interactions with chatbots feel awkward or unnatural. This also fixes the another most annoying thing about speaking with chatbots, the “wake word”. So, you don’t have to use a “wake word” like “Hey Cortana” every time you respond during conversations.

Unfortunately, these improvements may not make into Cortana anytime soon. These improvements are targeted towards Microsoft’s AI-powered social chatbots (XiaoIce, Zo, Ruuh, and Rinna) that are designed to have longer, more conversational sessions with users. Microsoft considers Cortana as a productivity-focused assistant!

Source: Microsoft

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