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Microsoft Surface Pro 3 : An amazing piece of tech, but can it replace laptop?

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By Ila Garg

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Over the past few years, technology has seen many advancements. The latest gadget to hit the market is the Microsoft Surface Pro 3. This tablet doubles as a laptop too. Microsoft claims that their Surface Pro 3 tablet has the power and performance of a laptop. The user can easily install Windows desktop software, including the entire Microsoft Office suite and Adobe Photoshop. But can it really replace your laptop?

Team NewsGram went to the Microsoft Store at the magnificent mile in downtown Chicago for first-hand experience of their latest product. There, the team manually inspected and checked the functionality of Surface Pro 3.

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It is sleek and light, making it easy to carry around. It is built to handle even the most intensive of tasks. The user can use up to three apps or desktop programs side by side at any time and switch between them with ease. Its 12” full HD Plus screen display is easy to the eyes. It has a fully functional sleek keyboard, available in many colors. Among the various options, the brick red keyboard looked most appealing to the NewsGram team. The keyboard also has a magnetic strip, thus it can connect to the screen. It is detachable so that the user can use the Surface both as a tablet and a laptop. With the 4th generation Intel Core family of processors (i3, i5, i7), it offers fast speed and seamless graphics, along with between 64 to 512 GB of SSD internal storage and 4 to 8 GB of RAM. It also has a full-size USB 3.0 port, a microSD card reader, and Mini DisplayPort.

It has stereo speakers with Dolby audio and two 5 megapixel HD cameras situated at the front and back. This makes video conferencing better than ever. The touchscreen is quite responsive, and the tablet includes a pen. Even if the Surface Pro 3 is asleep, with the click of the pen a blank sheet opens up for quick notes, scribblings, and sketches.

Weighing 1.76 pounds and 0.36 inches thin, this is indeed an amazing piece of technology, complete with a kickstand. It has an attractive display and design and is available at an affordable price range. Also, in the USA, there is a student discount of 10% on the Surface Pro 3. The tablet is also available in India.

Battery life may be an issue. Also, it tends to run hot at times. While it has an attachable keyboard, it may be hard to use in one’s lap due to the requirement of using the kickstand.

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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)