Despite the ubiquity of Microsoft’s operating systems on devices sold worldwide, Google’s Assistant and Apple’s Siri have dominated the attention of the public when it came to consumer-oriented artificial intelligence. Microsoft’s Cortana, named after its eponymous AI character in the firm’s Halo series, had been an integral feature on its laptops and desktops. The AI interface had voiced by the same voice actress as the in-game character and had utilised glyphs and icons reminiscent to that on the game.
Microsoft’s recent acquisition of AI startup Semantic Machines is an essential step in ensuring its artificial intelligence platforms Cortana and Azure Bot are a little less artificial. Headed by conversational AI pioneers UC Berkeley Professor Dan Klein and former Apple Chief Speech Scientist Larry Gillick, Semantic Machines represents the brightest minds in the field, especially in conjunction with its affiliation to UC Berkeley.
This comes after Google’s headline Duplex demonstration at the Google I/O earlier last week. The event demonstrated the Assistant’s ability to mimic human speech patterns when in conversation with humans. This feature essentially allows Google’s Assitant to make reservations and queries with businesses and organisations that operate via phone.