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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
Microsoft's beta Android launcher has digital health feature. 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)

Next Story

Infosys Brings Microsoft-powered Security Solution ‘Cyber Next’

Cyber Next's services include round the clock monitoring and lifecycle management, among others through an internationally scattered network of cyber defence centres, experts and skilled security analysts

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Infosys
Office building of Infosys. Pixabay

Global software major Infosys on Tuesday launched Cyber Next, a Microsoft Azure Sentinel-powered platform offering enhanced enterprise security management services solutions.

“We are developing next-generation platform-based offerings that leverage Azure Sentinel to help customers simplify their security operations, and scale as they grow,” Infosys cybersecurity practice head Vishal Salvi said in a statement.

Salvi said Microsoft Azure Sentinel’s core features match with the Bengaluru-based $11 billion company’s philosophy of diagnose, design, deliver and defend users from security threats.

Microsoft Azure Sentinel is a threat averting solution for enterprises, combining the American software giant’s decades long security experience with artificial intelligence and cloud.

FILE - Microsoft Corp. signage is shown outside the Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond, Wash.
FILE – Microsoft Corp. signage is shown outside the Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond, Wash. VOA

With features such as Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) and Security Orchestration Automation and Response (SOAR), the Microsoft solution enables enterprises to address data threats formidably.

Also Read: Here’s How Cannabis Can Help You Reduce Migraine Pain by Nearly Half

“We have a responsibility to bring new cybersecurity capabilities to our customers. By combining the strengths of the Microsoft security portfolio with Infosys service offerings, enterprises are able to better manage their security posture,” said Microsoft cybersecurity solutions group corporate vice president Ann Johnson.

Cyber Next’s services include round the clock monitoring and lifecycle management, among others through an internationally scattered network of cyber defence centres, experts and skilled security analysts. (IANS)