Earlier this year, Microsoft released a chatbot called Xiaoice (also known as Xiaobing) powered by Bing and their artificial intelligence technologies. This is different from Xiaona, the Chinese version of Cortana. Xiaoice is more like an emotional companion while Xiaona is expected to be an intelligent personal assistant. Microsoft believes that artificial intelligence could be the next boom in the mobile space. Even though Xiaoice is a new tool, it is already a hit among Chinese customers. Microsoft is seeing pretty consistent engagement and it carried on more than 500 million conversations on social networks like Weibo and Touchpal. Currently, Xiaoice’s monthly active users (MAU) is at more than 3 million users. Microsoft is planning to open this up for Xiaomi’s MiTalk chat app and JD.com’s N app in the future. Microsoft is expecting that this growing popularity of Xiaoice and Xiaona will increase consumers’ interest in Microsoft’s other products like Bing and Windows Phone.
Microsoft today detailed this in their blog post,
By simply adding her to a chat, people can have extended conversations with her. But XiaoIce is much more evolved than the chatbots you might remember. XiaoIce is a sophisticated conversationalist with a distinct personality. She can chime into a conversation with context-specific facts about things like celebrities, sports, or finance but she also has empathy and a sense of humor. Using sentiment analysis, she can adapt her phrasing and responses based on positive or negative cues from her human counterparts. She can tell jokes, recite poetry, share ghost stories, relay song lyrics, pronounce winning lottery numbers and much more. Like a friend, she can carry on extended conversations that can reach hundreds of exchanges in length.
Here is an example conversation with XiaoIce,
Here’s a translation of an actual exchange we had with XiaoIce:
Jerry: XiaoIce, will it rain tomorrow?
XiaoIce: Tomorrow the weather in Beijing will be nice with a maximum high of 25*C. No rain to get you soaked.
Jerry: How about the day after tomorrow?
XiaoIce: The day after tomorrow, the weather in Beijing will also be fair, with a max high of 23*C.
Jerry: What about Seattle?
XiaoIce: Yes sir, I’ve got the answer. The day after tomorrow, Seattle will be cloudy with a max high of 30*C. Perfect for going outside.
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