We’re getting closer to the sort of virtual assistant experience I’ve been waiting for–the one where the AI (whether it’s Cortana, Siri, or something else) actually knows and understands me on a more personal level and can truly act as a personal assistant a’ la JARVIS from Iron Man. Microsoft unveiled some news and updates at BUILD that suggest a promising future for Cortana.
Microsoft continues to push the envelope for artificial intelligence (AI) and natural voice interaction. At its BUILD developer conference Microsoft revealed a new proactive AI strategy and shared some upcoming improvements we can expect for Cortana—the virtual assistant AI in Windows 10.
Last week Microsoft had to abruptly pull the plug on Tay—its artificial intelligence Twitter bot designed to learn and respond as a teenage girl. The third-grade bullies that populate the seedy underside of the Internet targeted Tay to game its learning algorithm and convert it into a Hitler-loving, racist Trump supporter in about 24 hours. Microsoft is conducting a post mortem on Tay to learn from that fiasco in an effort to improve the ability for an AI to separate actual conversation from trolling.
Tay’s big sister, Cortana, is still alive and kicking, though. Microsoft CEO told the BUILD attendees that we’re on the cusp on a new frontier thanks to the combined power of advanced machine learning and natural human language. He said that Microsoft has dubbed this “Conversations as a Platform” and plans to extend it across Microsoft Azure, Office 365, and Windows platforms.
Cortana has matured and evolved since its inception. With roots in basic voice-to-text conversion that allowed Windows users to control certain features and capabilities with voice commands, Cortana has built on that foundation to become more intelligent and more proactive with each iteration. The Cortana Intelligence Suite is built on Microsoft Azure and built on cutting-edge research into big data, machine learning, perception, analytics, and intelligent bots.
At BUILD, Microsoft announced new additions to the Cortana Intelligence Suite—Microsoft Cognitive Services and Microsoft Bot Framework. Microsoft Cognitive Services provides developers with a collection of intelligent APIs that can be used to see, hear, speak, understand, and interpret using natural language communication. The Microsoft Bot Framework enables developers to create intelligent bots that allow customers to engage and chat using natural language across a wide range of platforms.
It seems that Microsoft is diligently working on adapting and improving Cortana—and artificial intelligence in general—to be more like what we see in science fiction. The JARVIS AI from the Iron Man movies doesn’t simply respond to requests from Tony Stark. JARVIS is aware and proactive. It knows Tony Stark as well or better than Tony Stark knows himself. It is aware of its surroundings and anticipates what Stark will want or need.
Read the full story on Forbes: Cortana Is About To Get Smarter And More Proactive (Again).