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Microsoft Working on a New Feature to Create Spreadsheets Using Visual Data

On release, the feature is expected to be cross-platform, allowing Microsoft to continue emphasising that the platform is not necessarily operating system (OS) based

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Microsoft introduced Cortana on Windows Phone four years ago. In Windows 10, it became the core search functionality.Pixabay

Microsoft is testing a feature that would allow users to create spreadsheets using visual data and mixing Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Office 365 through smartphone cameras.

According to Microsoft, the “insert data from picture” option would allow users to scan a receipt or table-type information into Excel.

Scanning for a grid or outline can be done by many apps including Microsoft’s own Office Lens but taking the visual data and building up the sheet is the simple magic that smartphone users would love, Forbes reported on Sunday.

“Open Excel on your phone or tablet and tap the ‘Insert data from picture’ button to get started. Excel’s powerful AI engine will process the image and convert it to a table,” Microsoft wrote in its support page.

Microsoft, Taiwan AI
A man walks past a Microsoft sign set up for the Microsoft BUILD conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco, April 28, 2015. VOA

The feature would also give users a chance to correct any issues discovered during the conversion process after importing the data.

“‘Insert data from picture’ is one of several beta features and currently only available to a portion of Office Insiders. When ready, we’ll release the feature to all Office Insiders and Office 365 subscribers,” Microsoft added.

Also Read- Tech Giant Google Refuses to Remove Controversial Saudi App

On release, the feature is expected to be cross-platform, allowing Microsoft to continue emphasising that the platform is not necessarily operating system (OS) based and that the software users could choose to run on any device totally irrespective of the OS it’s running on, Forbes added. (IANS)

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Social Robots Can Now be Conflict Mediators: Study

The study also found that the teams did respond socially to the virtual agent during the planning of the mission they were assigned (nodding, smiling and recognising the virtual agent's input by thanking it) but the longer the exercise progressed, their engagement with the virtual agent decreased

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Artificial Intelligence Bot
Artificial Intelligence Bot. Pixabay

We may listen to facts from Siri or Alexa, or directions from Google Maps, but would we let a virtual agent enabled by artificial intelligence help mediate conflict among team members? A new study says they might help.

The study was presented at the 28th IEEE International Conference on Robot & Human Interactive Communication in the national capital on Tuesday.

“Our results show that virtual agents and potentially social robots might be a good conflict mediator in all kinds of teams. It will be very interesting to find out the interventions and social responses to ultimately seamlessly integrate virtual agents in human teams to make them perform better,” said study lead author Kerstin Haring, Assistant Professor at the University of Denver.

Researchers from the University of Southern California (USC) and the University of Denver created a simulation in which a three-person team was supported by a virtual agent ‘Avatar’ on screen in a mission that was designed to ensure failure and elicit conflict.

The study was designed to look at virtual agents as potential mediators to improve team collaboration during conflict mediation.

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“We’re beginning to see the first instances of artificial intelligence operating as a mediator between humans, but it’s a question of: ‘Do people want that?” Pixabay

While some of the researchers had previously found that one-on-one human interactions with a virtual agent therapist yielded more confessions, in this study, team members were less likely to engage with a male virtual agent named ‘Chris’ when conflict arose.

Participating members of the team did not physically accost the device, but rather were less engaged and less likely to listen to the virtual agent’s input once failure ensued among team members.

Also Read: Uber Joins Hands with DocsApp to Avail Free Medical Consultations for its Drivers

The study was conducted in a military academy environment in which 27 scenarios were engineered to test how the team that included a virtual agent would react to failure and the ensuing conflict.

The virtual agent was not ignored by any means.

The study also found that the teams did respond socially to the virtual agent during the planning of the mission they were assigned (nodding, smiling and recognising the virtual agent’s input by thanking it) but the longer the exercise progressed, their engagement with the virtual agent decreased. (IANS)