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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’s latest Surface Pro firmware update fixes Surface Pen accuracy issues
Microsoft’s latest Surface Pro firmware update fixes Surface Pen accuracy issues. Pixabay
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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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Microsoft now Fixing ‘Surface Pen’ Inaccuracy Issues

Earlier, this year Microsoft launched a warranty replacement programme for Surface Pro 4 units affected by screen flickering issues

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Microsoft’s latest Surface Pro firmware update fixes Surface Pen accuracy issues
Microsoft’s latest Surface Pro firmware update fixes Surface Pen accuracy issues. Pixabay

Microsoft has reportedly curated a software fix for the inaccuracy of its stylus called “Surface Pen” for Surface Pro tablet users who have been facing issues on using the digital pen, while resting the hand on the screen.

“Microsoft has been investigating a fix, and the latest Surface Pro firmware update, available on Windows Update now addresses problems with ‘palm rejection affecting Surface Pen accuracy’,” The Verge reported late on Thursday.

Microsoft
Microsoft had claimed earlier that “Surface Pen” was the fastest digital stylus in the world shortly before Apple fired back with an even faster “Apple Pencil.” Pixabay

The solution comes as a relief to the Surface Pro owners because the inaccuracy of the “Surface Pen” got treated by a simple software fix instead of involving unit replacements.

“Affected users have confirmed pen strokes are now fully accurate when resting a hand on the Surface Pro screen,” the report added.

Also Read: Samsung Launches Galaxy Note 9, Will be Manufactured in India’s Largest Plant

Microsoft had claimed earlier that “Surface Pen” was the fastest digital stylus in the world shortly before Apple fired back with an even faster “Apple Pencil.”

Earlier, this year Microsoft launched a warranty replacement programme for Surface Pro 4 units affected by screen flickering issues. (IANS)