MICROSOFT HAS MADE an artificial intelligence (AI) powered bot that can make phone calls to humans; the digital dystopia starts here.
Redmond's chief exec Satya Nadella showed off the Xiaoice bot at an AI-centric event in London, reported The Verge, and showed it chatting to a human in Chinese; Microsoft has apparently been testing the clever tech in China.
While Xiaoice has been mostly used to chat in text form, it can also talk to humans over the phone as well and has supposedly convinced many users that it's an actual human rather than some clever code.
"Xiaoice has her own TV show, it writes poetry, and it does many interesting things," Nadella said, according to The Verge. "It's a bit of a celebrity."
This all may seem very similar to the slightly creepy Google Duplex future feature for the Google Assistant, which the search giant showed off at I/O 2018. But rather than make calls on a user's behalf, Xiaoice will instead be used to hold conversations with people; so if you're chatting to it via text it may decide to give you a call directly to move the conversation out of text and into voice.
"So now Xiaoice can be conversing with you in WeChat and stop and call you. Then you can just talk to it using voice," said Nadella.
Given the racist and controversial spouting of Microsoft's last bot Tay, one would think Redmond may have thrown in the towel and focussed on adding more things to Windows 10 and stop update borkage. But it looks like the company hasn't given up on AI-powered bots just yet.
There's no word on whether Xiaoice will make it over to the UK or if it'll be plonked into certain Microsoft products, but either way, we doubt we've heard the last about Xiaoice. µ
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