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Microsoft launches new translator app

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New York: Technology giant Microsoft has launched a translator app that can be used on a wide variety of devices and supports 50 different languages.

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Google’s Translate app, on the other hand, supports only 27 languages for text and voice conversion.

Available for iOS and Android platforms, the app called Microsoft Translator, supports phones and tablets as well as the Apple Watch and smartwatches that run Android Wear, CNET online reported.

One can type or speak the word or phrase to be translated. In response, the app shows the translated text on the screen and then speaks it too.

Text can also be copy-pasted from and to other apps for translation.

Microsoft has already been serving up language translation via its Bing website along with apps for its Windows Phone mobile operating system and its Windows 10 desktop software.

The company also offers translation through its Skype Translator programme, which is soon due to become part of the Skype app itself.

With the new app, Microsoft is entering into Google territory, which has long offered translation services on the web as well as for iOS and Android.

With Microsoft Translator, you can speak directly into your watch to get an instant translation in any of the 50 different languages.

The app can correctly pronounce the phrase for you through your watch. And all your translations and settings are synchronized between your watch and your phone.

(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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