A Microsoft AI research team has successfully created an AI bot with reading capabilities on par with a human. This is an impressive milestone for the technology giant, which has been striving hard towards becoming a leader in AI research and development.
In January 2018, Microsoft announced that one of its Microsoft Research Asia team has developed a software capable of reading a document and answering related questions as efficiently as a human. The software is now used within the Bing search engine tool and exhibits a potential to being applied to an assortment of other services and products.
An established framework – the Stanford Question Answering Dataset (SQuAD) - was used to test the new Microsoft AI reading software. The test comprises over 100,000 answers and questions based on 500 articles from Wikipedia websites. The competency of the AI software is based on the score it attained after answering a series of questions, each with an increasing level of difficulty. The score is then benchmarked against the score obtained by a human. At the beginning of the year, Microsoft’s AI team managed to submit a score of 82.650 from its model – slightly superior to the human score of 82.304. However, the team’s AI bot was unable to beat a similar model developed by e-commerce giant Alibaba.
The new developments in AI will change and improve the way people interact with technology. For example, the search engine Bing, which incorporates some of Microsoft’s AI technology, is now equipped with additional search features. These allow users to receive information they are looking for without having to click on a particular link. Instead, useful, succinct information is directly provided to the reader in two paragraphs.
According to Allison Linn, a blogger for Microsoft, the company is not only interested in developing software that assists computers in providing answers related to an original question, but also in creating the computer’s ability to anticipate follow-up topics. This will result in an improved and more naturally conversational experience for future computer users.
Apart from its current applications to Bing, the new AI comprehension and document reading capability can be extended into the Microsoft Office Suite. If AI integration can be successfully applied to the whole Microsoft Office 365 ecosystem, this will further strengthen its already powerful position in the market.
During the 2017 Ignite conference, Microsoft made announcements regarding plans for integrating AI developments into their best tools and services. For example, Microsoft’s customer relationship tools will receive new AI features such as virtual agents and assistants using modular apps. Furthermore, AI functionalities can be added into Facebook Messenger, Slack, Kik, and a range of other chat apps. This way, repetitive tasks can be automated while allowing overall productivity to be enhanced. Such AI services are now in the pilot stages for companies, including Macy’s and Hewlett-Packard, and will be tested in other companies in the near future.
Businesses interested in the many offerings from Microsoft should always stay tuned to the dynamic developments by the company. A good way to do so is by contacting WM Reply to speak to one of our friendly customer service team members, who will be happy to assist.