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Indian appointed USA Funds chief information officer

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Washington: An Indian-origin IT professional has been appointed as the chief information officer and senior vice president-operational support at USA Funds, a nonprofit corporation that offers aid to college students.

“Shital Patel brings to USA Funds extensive leadership experience in both the private sector and government, as well as significant expertise in aligning information technology capabilities with emerging business strategies,” USA Funds chief Bill Hansen said in a statement on Monday.

Patel will be responsible for all aspects of USA Funds’ information technology and services and will lead the exploration of emerging information service opportunities, issues and solutions for the Indianapolis-based nonprofit organisation.

“She will provide key leadership as USA Funds continues its transition toward becoming a national leader in promoting better outcomes for students in post-secondary education and in the workforce,” Hansen said.

Patel most recently managed enterprise sales for Microsoft in Indiana. Her previous experience includes service as chief information officer for the city of Indianapolis and as a managing director for Unisys Corp.

She is a graduate of the Indiana University Kelley School of Business. She serves on the board of directors of the Indiana Youth Institute.

USA Funds was founded in 1960 by a group of business leaders who were concerned about the rising cost of a college education. The corporation has served more than 22 million students and parents with more than $250 billion in financial aid for higher education.

 

(IANS)

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Microsoft Also Has an AI Bot That Makes Phone Calls to Humans

Xiaoice interacts in text conversations but now the company has started allowing the chat bot to call people on their phones

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Microsoft Also Has an AI Bot That Makes Phone Calls to Humans
Microsoft Also Has an AI Bot That Makes Phone Calls to Humans. Pixabay

While Google Duplex, which lets AI mimic a human voice to make appointments and book tables through phone calls, has mesmerised people with its capabilities and attracted flak on ethical grounds at the same time, Microsoft has showcased a similar technology it has been testing in China.

At an AI event in London on Tuesday, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella revealed that the company’s Xiaoice social chat bot has 500 million “friends” and more than 16 channels for Chinese users to interact with it through WeChat and other popular messaging services.

“Microsoft has turned Xiaoice, which is Chinese for ‘little Bing’, into a friendly bot that has convinced some of its users that the bot is a friend or a human being. Xiaoice has her own TV show, it writes poetry and it does many interesting things,” The Verge quoted Nadella as saying.

Xiaoice interacts in text conversations but now the company has started allowing the chat bot to call people on their phones.

The bot does not work exactly like Google Duplex, which uses the Assistant to make calls on a user’s behalf but it holds a phone conversation with the user.

Microsoft
Microsoft. (Wikimedia commons)

“One of the things we started doing earlier this year is having full duplex conversations. So now Xiaoice can be conversing with you in WeChat and stop and call you. Then you can just talk to it using voice,” Nadella was quoted as saying.

Humans will be humans and the latest victim of humankind was Microsoft.

Two years ago, Microsoft launched an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered bot on Twitter, named Tay, for a playful chat with people, only to silence it within 24 hours as users started sharing racist and offensive comments with the bot.

Also Read: Microsoft Introduces ‘Surface Hub 2’ for Modern Workplaces

Launched as an experiment in “conversational understanding” and to engage people through “casual and playful conversation”, Tay was soon bombarded with racial comments and the innocent bot repeated those comments back with her commentary to users.

Some of the tweets had Tay referring to Hitler, denying the Holocaust, and supporting Donald Trump’s immigration plans, among others.

Later, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed to TechCrunch that the company is taking Tay off Twitter as people were posting abusive comments to her. (IANS)

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