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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

Microsoft Claims Spurt Adoption of Artificial Intelligence In India

According to Microsoft, the company is busy democratising AI and is making the technology available on Azure Cloud to empower developers and institutions in solving difficult problems.

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AI
India is digitally ready for a comprehensive AI framework aligned to industries' long-term strategy. Pixabay

There has been a spurt in the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) across industries in India and cloud infrastructure and rapid deployment of intelligent Cloud services will further drive AI adoption in the country, Microsoft India said on Wednesday.

In a white paper titled “Age of Intelligence,” Microsoft said the focus is to create modern mobile infrastructure, skill up the workforce and reduce data costs and cross-industry collaboration, thus extending information connectivity and digital services to the underserved segments of the population.

“Our ambition is to enable a human-centered approach to AI. India is currently at an inflection point in the adoption of AI,” said Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India as the company unveiled the white paper at the Nasscom Technology and Leadership Forum (NTLF) 2019 here.

AI
In a white paper titled “Age of Intelligence,” Microsoft said the focus is to create modern mobile infrastructure, skill up the workforce and reduce data costs and cross-industry collaboration, thus extending information connectivity and digital services to the underserved segments of the population. Pixabay

“Building on the four foundational pillars — enabling digital transformation across industries, forging coalitions for innovation, building a future-ready workforce and creating sustained societal impact — will unlock and accelerate the potential of AI,” Maheshwari added.

The white paper outlines challenges and opportunities with respect to AI and how balanced and forward looking government policies, technological advancements including growing Internet penetration and connectivity will help reap benefits of digital transformation in the years to come.

According to Microsoft, the company is busy democratising AI and is making the technology available on Azure Cloud to empower developers and institutions in solving difficult problems.

AI
There has been a spurt in the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) across industries in India and cloud infrastructure and rapid deployment of intelligent Cloud services will further drive AI adoption in the country, Microsoft India said on Wednesday.
Pixabay

“AI enables organizations to make better informed decisions by making it easy to derive insights from data, helping them expand and improve customer engagement and experiences, optimize operations and improve offerings,” read the white paper.

Also Read: Network Service Providers Pledge To Reduce The Gender Gap Between Mobile Phone Users In India By 2020
India is digitally ready for a comprehensive AI framework aligned to industries’ long-term strategy.

“With the size of the market and opportunity for growth, it’s imperative to implement AI for India that brings economic, societal and inclusive growth,” Microsoft noted. (IANS)