Microsoft acquires an AI startup to make Cortana sound more human

Google’s development of convincingly human like sounding assistant has opened doors for other big companies to work more on perfecting bots conversing with humans. One such step is taken by Microsoft which is acquiring an AI startup Semantic Machines to make its Cortana sound more like humans.

Semantic Machines works on machine learning to make bots respond to queries in a more human-like natural way. With the acquisition of Semantic Machines, Microsoft will certainly boost its Cortana Assistant and its Azure bot services.

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Semantic Machines is led by UC Berkeley professor Dan Klein and former Apple chief speech scientist Larry Gillick. Microsoft has worked closely with Halo developer 343 Industries for the visual elements and voice actor Jen Taylor.

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David Ku, CTO Microsoft AI and Research, explains:

With the acquisition of Semantic Machines, we will establish a conversational AI center of excellence in Berkeley to push forward the boundaries of what is possible in language interfaces.

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Google recently showcased their work at Google I/O when they introduced Google Duplex, which showed Assistant making human-like calls to book reservations. But it also gave rise to a lot of concern over ethical grounds. So Microsoft needs to be really careful with what they tend to develop.

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