During a recent AI event in London,
Satya Nadella impressed audiences with Microsoft’s intelligent social chat bot, named Xiaoice.
The name is the Chinese for
“little Bing” and is pronounced as
‘shao-ice’. Following extensive testing of the chat bot in China, Xiaoice now has 500 million
“friends”, with users in China able to interact with the bot via more than 16 channels using WeChat, as well as a variety of different messaging services.
The smart chat bot is a friendly tool capable of convincing its users it is a human being or a friend. According to Nadella, the smart bot can write poetry and perform many interesting functions. Xiaoice is even
“a bit of a celebrity” as it has its own TV show.
Although the majority of the chat bot’s interactions with users have been via text conversations, it has also begun to explore its capability of calling users on their phones. This feature of the chat bot seems similar to that of
Google Duplex, but is different in the sense it actually holds a phone conversation with a user, rather than using the Google Assistant to make calls on behalf of a user.
Nadella also explained that earlier in 2018, Microsoft made the effort to allow the chat bot to hold two simultaneous conversations. To date, Xiaoice has made around a million calls.
During the AI event in London,
Nadella carried out a demonstration of this capability. According to
Angela Chen, a science reporter from
the Verge who is fluent in Mandarin, the voice of Xiaoice sounds very pleasant. She described the pitch as artificially bright, which sounded similar to that of a US newscaster
During his demonstration, Nadella even showed off the chat bot’s ability to make predictions on the next thing the other person will say, thus providing a quick response accordingly. Audiences also witnessed how the chat bot interrupted the user mid-conversation to provide a kind reminder to close the window before bed, due to strong winds.
However, Microsoft is yet to demonstrate the above capabilities within its Cortana digital assistant. Despite Xiaoice’s fame in China, many Microsoft users in the West were not aware of its existence before the recent introduction during the London AI event. It is, however, likely to be only a matter of time before Microsoft brings similar technology to English-speaking countries and users in the states.
Microsoft is always working on new intelligent technology to help build a better future for the technology world, as well as to stay relevant in the fiercely competitive technology industry.
Feel free to contact our team at
WM Reply today for some professional advice on how our products and services could be applied to improve the future of your business. With improved communication at the crux of all the mobile applications we offer, our friendly team has been professionally trained to guide you through the selection process of suitable Microsoft products for your organisation.